Court Eases Way for Expensive California Choo-Choo

Opponents of the boondoggle still have a few arrows in their quiver.


Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project took a step forward Wednesday when the state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by opponents of the first-stage funding for the proposed San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line.

State voters approved $8.6 billion in bonds in 2008 for a project that is projected to cost $68 billion. Before construction could begin on the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley, a Sacramento County judge blocked the bond sale last year, saying the state first needed to gain environmental clearance and identify sources of funding for the rest of the planned rail line.

But the state's Third District Court of Appeal reversed that ruling July 31 and said the bond sale could proceed. While further funding plans and environmental review will be needed at later stages, the court said, the initial plan met legal requirements that allowed the Legislature to decide whether to commit money to the project.

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  1. If it’s ever completed, the California Disaster should be done right around the time that autos become widespread.

    Leave it to the state of California to produce a taxpayer-funded whale oil refinery in the age of kerosene.

  2. Given that we are taking about the California Supreme Court, is anyone surprised?

  3. I’m beginning to suspect that the reason so many politicians are so hot for rail projects is that they are planning to bring back private railway carriages ? as a sign of their importance.


  4. What the hell? As maybe the only railroad guy here, let me give you some valuable insight: Warren Buffett paid $26B to buy the BNSF, which is probably the second largest RR in the world (32,000 track miles), which is profitable due to rail’s astronomical advantage in moving freight.

    But passenger rail is an entirely different story, especially today. As you know, the economics of passenger rail are simply not there; if they were, the big systems would be running them.

    Now compare the profitability of the entire BNSF system to that of a passenger line from LA to San Fran which is projected to cost ****$68 billion dollars****–are you fucking kidding me?

    California’s nihilism is searching for the bottom of the abyss, so why not phone in a $68 billion dollar railroad that will never pay for itself, and the actual cost of which will dwarf the already absurd cost projection? Hypothetical, of course.

    1. Plenty of pigs at that taxpayer funded trough. That is all this is about, Everybody helping to bankrupt California with this will have long gotten their payoff and be out of office or dead.

  5. If you believe the $68Bn number, why I’ll be happy to offer my unicorn ranch at bargain basement prices.

  6. Just for a reference to put that $68bn into perspective:

    Current Value of General Motors: $48bn
    Current Value of Southwest Airlines: $20bn

    So, California could buy those two giant corporations for the price of just this one rail line.

  7. I am betting the High Speed Choo-Choo will cost at least $200 billion (in 2008 dollars) if it ever gets built.

    If it doesn’t get built, I am sure they will spend at least $50 billion before giving up. (Which will really induce outrage amongst the pushers of the HSCC who can’t grasp the sunk cost fallacy.)

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