Friday, September 30, 2016
Governor seeks money pile for high-speed rail
Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday vetoed a bill to strengthen the California legislature's oversight of high-speed rail. The measure, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson from Fresno, would have simply required the High-Speed Rail Authority to provide more information on the cost and schedule for each planned segment of the high-speed rail system. The provision of this information had been recommended by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
It's no surprise that Governor Brown would resist attempts to infuse some transparency into high-speed rail. Projected construction costs have already doubled from the initial $33 billion estimate, and the final bill will surely top $100 billion. The Governor is even raiding his cap-and-trade fund, but that has not been enough to cover the project's $43.5 billion shortfall.
So where will the money come from to keep this boondoggle going? According to the Los Angeles Times, the rail authority chief "has said repeatedly this year that it should not be necessary to specify where all of the money will come from, noting that backers of the project were surprised by some sources of the money now available. He said there’s no reason to doubt that unanticipated sources will provide additional money."
So the financing plan, it seems, is to hope and pray that a giant pile of money will appear out of nowhere. Meanwhile, I leave it to you to decide whether the billions being shoveled into this absurd scheme would be better spent building new water storage projects and improving the state's road and freight-rail infrastructure.
In his veto message, Governor Brown called Assemblyman Patterson's bill "unnecessary." Seeing as the bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, it appears that every member of the California legislature disagrees.