Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Solyndra Express

Does California really have this kind of money to throw at a pie-in-the-sky train?
Building California's high-speed rail project could cost $98.5 billion over 20 years, more than twice what was previously thought, according to a draft copy of a business plan obtained late Monday by The Bee.

The amount is still far less than the cost of expanding airport and highway systems to accommodate the state's growing population, the California High-Speed Rail Authority said in the report. Even with conservative ridership and cost estimates, it said, the system will operate at a profit.
First, I don't think anyone truly believes it will operate at a profit. Ever. Is there a bullet train anywhere in the world that does? (I believe there's one, in France, that does, but that's it.) Second, that cost is more than the entire California state budget for this year. Really, for a train?

I quote from a teacher at school today:
On the plus side it’s not a train to nowhere, there are lots of stop along the way: insolvency, bankruptcy, and the final stop, ruin.
This is a fiasco of Biblican proportions. If we can't stop something this insane in California, there's nothing crazy we won't try here--all in the name of Gaia.


Anonymous said...

"If we can't stop something this insane in California..."

Forget *stopping* this. The California voters *VOTED* for this. In November 2008. When the economy was clearly in trouble (Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, AIG had been bailed out to the tune of $85B [it would grow ...], the housing market was well into a huge decline) and less than a decade after California's last round of an economic contraction. You remember ... the one that cost Gray Davis his job and blew a $20B hole in the state budget?

Collectively, *WE* the voters *WANT* to spend $50B to $100B of money that the state doesn't have to build a train that will lose money once it becomes operational.

That's what we voted to do in 2008.


-Mark Roulo

MikeAT said...

Like the METRO Light Rail in Houston, a simple question is never asked and answered: Is there a demand for this?

I guess they will create a demand like METRO is. They simply stop all bus service on the line. I guess California will do something to limit car traffic, air travel, etc on this route

Yes Darren, California is screwed...turn out the light, the
party's over.

allen (in Michigan) said...

In a sense there is demand for the train although not in the classic sense.

The demand that'd result in usage isn't there as various rail projects continue to demonstrate. But there are people who just want it, just want it alot and for them that's a good enough reason to spend tens of billions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Comparing expenditures over 20 years to a one-year budget isn't a fair comparison. You're really talking about spending 5-6% of the total budget on this over 20 years. That's still a huge cost, and may not be worth it. What's the comparable amount for road/bridge maintenance? Does that make a profit?

MikeAT said...


Legit point on one year vs twenty year but you off on the road maintenance. Unlike rail project, the maintenance is funded by a directed tax on fuel (gas and diesel). The more you use the road the more you pay.

Naturally leftists have raided the Highway Trust Fund and used it for boondoggles like this.