High-Speed Rail Scorecard: Bees = 1, Dead = 1, "Emerging" Business = 1, Public Private Partnership = 1, Political Turbulence = 1. Californians = 0.

|

This is not a Biggest Loser group hug. It's Cathleen Gagliani and John Perez sharing a chaste but magical PDA.

A California state politician has written a masterpiece. 

Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) was only seeking fame as one of the admitted authors of Proposition 1A, a popular referendum authorizing the sale of $9.95 billion in public bonds for the Golden State's high-speed rail concept. In the November 2008 election, some 6.7 million California voters – who at the time believed or pretended to believe that the cost of a high-speed rail network connecting Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego would total $41 billion – voted for Prop 1A, enough to score 53 percent of the total vote count. (The total cost estimate of the project has since increased to $98.5 billion.) 

But with her statement on the management chaos at the California High-Speed Rail authority, Gagliani has outdone herself. Let's just say clocking in under 300 words isn't the only thing this speech has in common with the Gettysburg Address: 

We have always known there would be challenging circumstances building the nation's first high-speed Rail system, particularly when it requires being sensitive and responsive to diverse communities, with varying needs along the entire 800 mile stretch of the project all at once.  Mr. Van Ark and Mr. Umberg have worked with stakeholders to address everything from whether "wind speed" from the train will affect bee pollination in agricultural areas, the importance of respecting sacred sites and Native American burial grounds near the Grapevine, the value we place on involving small emerging business enterprises during the engineering and construction contracting process, building the first public private partnership of this scope in California, and navigating the political turbulence associated with building the nation's first High–Speed Rail system.  I have deep respect and owe my deepest gratitude to both Mr. Van Ark and Mr. Umberg…

Today represents a turning point for the Governor to put his stamp on the project.  I am pleased that his long-trusted Advisor, Dan Richard, has been chosen to succeed Chair Umberg, and I am confident that Governor Brown will put his full resources behind the success of High Speed Rail.  I remain committed to working with Governor Brown, and Chair Richard to move this project forward and put California's economy on a fast-track to recovery with "high speed jobs."

Note that the list of stakeholders and diverse communities contains flora and fauna of many different cultural heritages. But the following words never rear their ugly heads: Californians, taxpayer, citizen, owner, resident, farm, home, rights, traffic, cost, price, recession, save

Note also that the $10 billion in bonds have not been sold yet, and the state government has broad discretion in choosing whether and when to take on voter-approved debt. The project's official cost estimate has more than doubled in a mere three years – an increase not explicable by any known economic data. (And it says here that $100 billion price is still an extreme lowball based on very sparse information.) 

It's time for Gov. Jerry Brown to make the kind of bold move he made on redevelopment agencies. Removing the chaos of California High Speed Rail from the state's political and budgeting process is the honorable move. 

Advertisement

NEXT: SCOTUS Rulings Highlight Problems With Eyewitnesses

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Trolls on strike today? Why doesn’t every article have 600 comments? Not that I’m complaining.

    1. Maybe they are all in Virginia protesting Lee Jackson Day?

      I still miss Lee Jackson King Day. Before they broke them apart people used to ask me who “he” was. Too funny.

      1. That is funny

    2. Or maybe they’re scared by Friday the 13th?

    3. Why do teh [LIBTOIDZ] hate the future?

  2. But the following words never rear their ugly heads: Californians, taxpayer, citizen, owner, resident, farm, home, rights, traffic, cost, price, recession, save.

    I’m saving this list of words. I’m sure I’ll modify it, but I think it’s a great idea for a place to start questioning those who argue for venture socialism projects.

    1. I think it’s a great idea for a place to start questioning those who argue for venture socialism projects.

      CUT THAT OUT!

  3. We have always known there would be challenging circumstances building the nation’s first high-speed Rail system

    _______________________

    The biggest challenge she faced was deceiving voters concerning the cost of the project. With that fraud having been perpetrated, the rest should be easy.

    1. So what goes into a Kwanzaa Cake? Is there frosting?

        1. All I saw were breasts. Lovely breasts.

  4. citizen, owner, resident, farm, home, rights, cost, price, recession, save.

    Are these real words? They sound like made-up words.

  5. worked with stakeholders to address everything from whether “wind speed” from the train will affect bee pollination in agricultural areas

    While citrus benefits greatly from pollination by bees, almonds require it. Beekeepers truck hives by the semi-load and get paid good money to pollinate almond orchards.

    It may seem silly on its face, but this really is a matter of potential significant financial impact to anyone with a farm along the intended path of the train.

    1. Then why not say “almond farmers”? Or “almond farm owners”? No, no – it’s all about the bees, not the actual owners and farmers of the land.

      I think I may be inviting troll invasion here. Although it’s been a while since I’ve seen Krispy Kreme’s Best Customer?

      1. Fuck the almond farmers and the bees. The government has every right to gambol through people’s prosperity.

        Private homeowner: NO! NO GAMBOL!
        Orchard dude: NO! GAMBOL LOCKDOWN IS IN FULL EFFECT.

        You anarchists are all the same.

        1. The Enviromental Marxists have been throwing a perpetual temper tantrum about the oil pipeline, but, astonishingly, have not had a bad word to say about the environmental impact of the train to nowhere. Hmm.

    2. What a load of shit. A train or any ground vehicle doesn’t really displace much air except for in the immediate vicinity of its path, and the disruption doesn’t take long to return to normal after it passes. The effects of a train are pretty much negligible compared to normal circulation by wind.

      1. Dude, it doesn’t matter. The whole thing is theater of the mind. There is no rail system. There is no actual plan. It’s a money grab for political insiders. Any “studies” or “plans” they release are *intentional* bullshit and smoke screen. You might as well comment on the scientific validity of unicorns in My Little Pony. There’s no point.

      2. You’ve totally missed the point. Scientists were paid sums of money to study this. It’s about jobs. Who cares if a vehicle creates a small amount of quickly neutralized turbulence in its wake having no discernible effect on a farm 50+ yards away.

      3. Oh, it’s also about future lawsuits.

        It’s like Climate Change. Once(if?) the train is there any fluctuation in farming output can be “blamed” on the train and with that comes phat government compensation.

  6. This is not a Biggest Loser group hug.

    Talk about othering. Your Alt-aggression has been reported.

    1. GENIUS.

  7. During a recession such as this, we must save every citizen–whether living on a farm or in a home or a resident of a rental property–from the high price that their rights impose on the cost of government.

    1. THIS IS WHAT THESE PEOPLE A C T U A L L Y BELIEVE.

  8. The whole thing is a jobs bill for politically connected thieving scumbags like Umberg. These douchebags get a six figure job on some advisory board for a year or two and then on to the next position. It’s a farce. They never intended to build a rail system. They probably laughed their heads off when the mindless shitheads of California voted for this idiotic thing.

    This is what Progressivism is really about- the political class giving one another cushy jobs forever and ever… well, until it all comes burning down and they head for their bolt holes.

  9. . Mr. Van Ark and Mr. Umberg have worked with stakeholders to address everything from whether “wind speed” from the train will affect bee pollination in agricultural areas,

    We. Are. Fucked.

    And California is leading the nation with it.

  10. The medium speed train is such a goofy waste for so many reasons. It is amusing to see it aborted by the disparate interest groups (I hate that word, “stakeholders”) that the lovers of 19th century transportation nurture and sustain. The progressives can’t serve both masters, it appears, which delights me.

    But it troubles me too, but I must now confess that Thomas Freidman’s admiration of the ChiCom Way is not wholly absurd. If you were like Friedman, and believed the train was progress, you would want the ability to cram the train right up the interest groups’ poopchutes.

    The ChiComs would never fret like Gagliani. They’d give you progress, good and hard.

    1. That’s only because the ChiComs, despite millenia of experience, haven’t perfected the arts of graft and kleptocracy like our native criminal class.

      The ChiComs are totally missing out on whole layers of theft by not having “councils” and “authorities” populated by their inlaws pocket millions, before construction companies populated by their cousins pocket billions.

      1. Ironically, dictatorships are remarkably free from this kind of corruption. Theirs is a one-dimensional corruption. Where here in the enlightened, democratic west, our corruption is one of many, many facets.

  11. Life is short,We always need passions!
    SeekCasual*COM, a place for people who wanna start a short-term relationship.And also for finding soul mates.Over 160000 honest members with real photos and detailed profiles.Sign up free and have a try!Nothing to lose!

  12. The project’s official cost estimate has more than doubled in a mere three years ? an increase not explicable by any known economic data.

    Well, except for the long history of government projects, which always cost at least double the initial estimate.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.