From the L.A. Times:
There is a major flaw in the business plan for the $42.6-billion state high-speed rail network that would run from San Diego to San Francisco,
according to the legislature's nonpartisan fiscal watchdog.
Among the concerns expressed in a new report by the Legislative Analyst's Office is that the state High-Speed Rail Authority failed to adequately consider what happens if few people ride the new trains, opening a potentially huge funding gap. Eric Thronson, a fiscal and policy analyst for the office, called a risk assessment in the business plan "incomplete and inappropriate for a project of this magnitude."
Thronson warned that there is no backup plan to keep the rail system solvent if it fails to draw 41 million people yearly. A bond measure approved by voters to help pay for the train network prohibits public funds from being spent on operating costs.
It really can't be stressed enough–Proposition 1A, which allocated $10 billion for this project and created the high speed rail authority (please do check out the rail authority's website, especially that quote at the top), was passed not in the loose-money-forever, real estate bubble salad days of 2006 or something, but in NOVEMBER FREAKIN' 2008, when only Ted Williams' frozen head was unaware that California's public finances were in utter shambles. And yet it was endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and the editorial boards of the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and Fresno Bee, among other enlightened members of California's whaddya-mean-we're-for-big-government political class.
For a real due diligence report on the high-speed rail project, read this September 2008 analysis [pdf] from the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website; or just peruse the Foundation's archives.
Link via LA Observed.