CA Rail Fail
California’s high-speed rail project was doomed to fail from the start. Billions have been wasted. While Governor Newsom has put most of the high-speed dream on ice because of skyrocketing costs, Green New Dealers are promoting high speed rail across the USA. It’s going to replace airplanes and millions of cars and trucks, they say. Uh-huh.
You’re kidding! California’s high-speed train has been exposed as a massively expensive boondoggle that has suddenly been abandoned? Who could have seen that coming?
Actually, a lot of transportation experts knew this was a giant, unavoidable fail, but the Green Dreaming politicians didn’t care, and the people fell for it.
Phase one of the LaLa train was supposed to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles and cost a mere $33 billion, but that number ballooned to at least $80 billion, which is why Governor Gavin Newsom derailed the albatross. With few exceptions, that’s the way it happens. People are lied to with low ball numbers when the plan is being sold and then they get taken for a ride. It’s happened in cities all across America for decades.
About 15 years ago New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson proclaimed he wanted a train to run between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. He called it the Rail Runner. I called it the Rail Robber and did everything I could to stop it. I created a website, started a petition drive, wrote op-eds and criticized the idea on the radio. But Richardson got his choo-choo. In a typical year, the fares bring in only about a tenth of what it costs to run it. The state also spends $28 million dollars a year to service the debt for construction and there’s another $220 million in balloon payments due beginning in 2025.
In California Governor Newsom says they will finish the project that runs between Bakersfield and Merced, throwing more good money after bad. These are cautionary tales America, just a tiny sampling of what you’ll get if the Green New Deal ever gets any real momentum.
For the Clear Energy Alliance, I’m Mark Mathis. Power On.
Albuquerque Journal story on Rail Runner ridership and expenses
Rail Transit Cost Overruns – The Antiplanner
California High Speed Rail Authority
Wall Street Journal – Death of a California Dream Feb 13, 2019
Books by Randal O’Toole, rail travel analyst
Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need
Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and Shat to Do About It
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