Transportation Policy

Breaking: California High-Speed Rail Boondoggle Now Officially Texas-Sized


Via Salon's AP feed comes the latest cost projections for the utter waste of money on high-speed rail that California taxpayers approved via ballot initiative in 2008. Guess what? The project, which envisions using centuries-old technology to shlep humanoids in style from Anaheim to the Bay Area by 2033, is gonna cost a lot more than originally billed.

The initial estimate to build the system when voters approved bond funding for it in 2008 was $43 billion. In non-adjusted, 2010 dollars that amount is now $65.4 billion, showing the costs have risen significantly.

"This is us telling it like it is to the public — no sugar-coating, no baloney," said Dan Richard, one of two appointees Gov. Jerry Brown made to the California High-Speed Rail Authority last summer.

Mmm, sugar-coated baloney.

The report estimates the actual cost at $98.5 billion if the route between San Francisco and Anaheim is completed in 2033. The plan assumes private investment will account for roughly 20 percent of the total cost, with much of the rest coming from additional borrowing.

I plainly admit that math is not my forte, but I'm having trouble following the numbers. Three years ago, voters were sold a project that was gonna cost $43 billion, which now costs $66 billion in 2010 dollars, but the actual cost is gonna be $98.5 billion, if everything goes faster than Carl Douglas doing some kung-fu fighting and the whole system is up and running by 2033? Not to worry, though, because the very best people in the California government and heavily subsidized business community and at the Obama White House are all over it.

Where's the line in the "business plan" that says all numbers are placeholders until a new form of scientific measurement is developed to calculate the amount of bullshit included in these estimates?

Whole story here.

Reason on transportation here.

In 2010, gave 3 Reasons Obama's High-Speed Rail Will Go Nowhere Fast. Check it out, especially if you're a Super Train aficianado:


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  1. We had to destroy California to save it.

  2. Won’t be the last upward revision. I take it that libtard Californians SOMETIMES do have an aversion to this kind of shit, we do vote down taxes after all (but WE FUCKING LOVE BONDS!)

  3. In non-adjusted, 2010 dollars

    Which is it? Non-adjusted dollars, or 2010 dollars? Because when you put a year on a price tag, that means you are taking inflation (before and/or since) into account.

    1. The 50% increase is in real, inflation-adjusted terms. The more than double is in un-adjusted dollars.

      1. Remember, when you ask the question, “How can we afford High Speed Rail?” the correct response is “How can we afford not to build HSR?” When you understand that you get promoted to columnist at the LA Times.

  4. Inflation? What inflation?

  5. The only accuracy involving this suckhole of money is the 0.0% likelihood that the crazy cost overruns will ever filter into the thick skulls of the idiots who think choo-choo trains are the pinnacle of an advanced society.

  6. How are they going to pay for this? I thought California was broker than Lindsay Lohan after learning her coke dealer takes Visa.

    1. It won’t actually be built. The Rail Authority will blow the currently allocated funds on their salaries and junkets to China, and maybe some weed covered tracks in the Central Valley. And that will be it.

  7. As if the exponential cost increases are not enough to turn one’s stomach, the proposed first section of the choo choo will run from a small town in the middle of the central valley(where the unemployment rate runs from 14% to 20%) to a medium size town at the south end of the central valley. A RR from nowhere to nowhere?? Makes Ted Stevens look like a small time scammmer.

  8. Via Salon’s AP feed

    Oh, sure, Nick. Salon’s AP feed, give them all the credit.

  9. Sugar coat THIS, bitchez.

  10. I’m fairly certain I’d bet a friend of mine who supported this and lived in CA that the project would cost double the projected cost and take 10 years longer than anticipated.

    I’m thinking this means I win the bet, but I wonder if my “bet” is like a CDS on Greek debt where a 50% loss isn’t considered a “failure”… or whatever.

    1. It’ll be like Paul Ehrlich’s defense of his numbers. He said millions would die due to starvation.

      Well, technically he was right… since he made that claim, millions of people did die around the world. I hear they’re dying right now. And they died of oxygen starvation from the brain. The leading cause of death amongst living-kind.

  11. a new form of scientific measurement

    It is called a Gastronomical Unit. It defines how many million-acres of high-quality grazing must be consumed to produce the bullshit contained in political cost estimates. It is inversely correlated with the political tenability of the estimate (the lower the cost the higher the bs content).

  12. It’s fun to talk to the libs about trains. I always suggest buses as being much cheaper and providing the same mass transit result. They never have much of an answer for that.

  13. This article is BS. It’s really gonna cost $253,972,185.56 after all is said and done.

    1. IIRC they’ve already spent over $500 million, so I think it will be a challenge to get that back down to $253 million and change.

  14. Assuming it ever does get built, I am betting that the eventual cost of land, construction and equipment, excluding interest charges, is over $200 Billion in 2010 dollars.

  15. After 40 years in planning, some of which was surface transportation (I was part of the 1973 Los Angeles Rapid Transit Study [LARTS], I think I’m qualified to make a comment.

    I ran the figures for this turkey based on worst cost and 1/2 the estimated ridership, the taxpayer gets hit for $14,000 PER RIDER!

    Also, it doesn’t travel at 120 mph for the whole trip. The average speed (including dwell time, etc. for layovers) is about 80. And then it’s always forgotten it’s a 30 mile drive to the station and in LA it’s a 60 mile drive (after spending an hour renting a car) to your destination.

    The one thing NO ONE ever mentions about high speed transit, is the nice figures are always station to station. Once you include door to door, the automobile rates pretty high and if you’ve got serious luggage VERY high.

    There may be a way for mass transit to beat individual transportation, but the present technology can’t do it without an incredible subsidy.

    I used to live in Sacramento CA and my mother in San Gabriel (greater LA) CA. The door to door trip via highway 5 was 404 miles. Even w LA traffic and a rest stop, I used to do it in 6 and 1/2 hours. I once did it w a 200 lb potted plant in the passenger seat (aah student days).

    1. If the DEA ever looks at this website, mentioning the potted plant was probably not a good idea.


  16. Oh, yes. That $14,000 figure Does include maintenance (I used the figures from Japan), debt retirement, and depreciation (30 years).

  17. Sorry, the $14,000 was a different question. The Calif High Speed Rail was $375 per passenger for the most optimistic costs, ridership, etc. The most pessimistic came out at $8,200 (almost as bad as my mistake above).

  18. I’d been very happy to discover this great site. Needed saying thanks to everyone because of this pleasant examine!! When I undoubtedly relishing every single spot of it again plus I possibly you have bookmarked as their favorite to think about different facts you article.

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