High Speed Rail

Court Allows California's High-Speed Rail to Continue

Judge rules the $64 billion megaproject doesn't violate bond act.

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California's high-speed rail boondoggle survived a major challenge in court this week when a Sacramento judge ruled that the bullet train did not violate voter restrictions passed in 2008. 

Plaintiffs—which included property owners in Kings County, California—claimed the train violated standards passed by voters under Prop 1A in 2008 because of changes to route maps, timetables, and construction plans.  According to the Los Angeles Times

"The 2008 bond act, which provided $9 billion for the high-speed rail program, required that the train system would have to be financially viable, allow the operation of trains every five minutes in each direction, operate without a subsidy, have all the funds identified for an operating segment before the start of construction and travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes, among other things."

In his ruling, Judge Michael Kenny stated that there was not enough evidence and that the claims made in the suit were "not ripe for review", which means that the project can move forward. 

There are still many legal, financial, and political hurdles the high-speed train must clear before the train even finishes it's first operation segment in 2025. And while the "Browndoogle" marches forward, property owners are fearful they will lose their land for a project that may never see completion. You can hear their stories in the video below. 

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  1. …property owners are fearful they will lose their land for a project that may never see completion.

    President Trump will help them out.

    1. $100 per pound of track installed?

      Big Backyard Blast Furnace must have some powerfull good lobbyists !

    2. President Trump will take their land for some other idiotic thing, but make sure it gets finished being built before it rots away for lack of use.

  2. But, but, but Europe and Japan and other neat places have high speed trains, why can’t we? Now!

    1. Traaaaaiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnsssssss

      /zombie prog

      1. Choo Chooos !

    2. “But, but, but Europe and Japan”

      China just announced in its 5 year plan the construction of a second rail link to Tibet, from Lhasa to Chengdu. Hoover Dam? Was that the last time an American construction project was as ambitious as this?

      1. mtrueman|3.13.16 @ 6:21PM|#
        “China just announced in its 5 year plan the construction of a second rail link to Tibet, from Lhasa to Chengdu. Hoover Dam? Was that the last time an American construction project was as ambitious as this?”

        Oh, look! Lefty ignoramus shows up to prove he’s not real bright. Again.

        1. ” Again.”

          Yes again. And you’ve still got nothing interesting to add. Except, weirdly, imploring others to read my comment.

          1. Yeah, it’s all about you.

            1. “Yeah, it’s all about you.”

              You’ve made that abundantly and creepily clear. Anytime you feel you’re ready to move beyond that, you have my permission to proceed.

              1. A shitbag who makes a practice of lying and never offering any evidence for his lies now gripes that instead of engaging said shitbag, he gets called on his bullshit!
                Trueman, you get exactly what you deserve; insults.

                1. “Trueman, you get exactly what you deserve; insults.”

                  And you’re just the guy to deliver them. Remember, anytime you feel ready to move on to some topic other than myself, you have my permission.

                  1. “you have my permission.”

                    I’ll always remember to ask permission of a lying shitbag.

                    1. “I’ll always remember to ask permission of a lying shitbag.”

                      When you’re ready, Sevo, Let’s not rush things. For the time being, maybe you better stick to the idiotic bluster and name calling.

                    2. Gee, perpetual liar now concerned that someone won’t bother responding to his lies!

                      mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:59AM|#
                      “[?] What you haven’t fathomed is that I’m so morally depraved that my deserved rep here doesn’t bother me or interest me in the least. I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern.”

                    3. Posting about Chinese rail in a thread about American rail is supposed to an example of my moral depravity? Stick to your taunts of liar and shitbag. And don’t quote me. Use your own damn words. Mine only trip you up. That’s enough advice.

                    4. mtrueman|3.14.16 @ 1:11AM|#
                      “Posting about Chinese rail in a thread about American rail is supposed to an example of my moral depravity?”
                      No, your lies are you depravity, shitbag.

                      “Stick to your taunts of liar and shitbag. And don’t quote me.”
                      Ashamed of your quotes? Why, what a surprise! Suck it, twerp; you said it, I just copied it.

                      “Use your own damn words. Mine only trip you up. That’s enough advice.”
                      Nice try; it’s your quote. That’s enough correction.

          2. Yeah, I read it and now I wish I hadn’t.

            Throwing billions of dollars out the window (actually, into the pockets of the connected) may be “ambitious” but it’s still a waste of money.

            1. “but it’s still a waste of money.”

              It’s a waste of a hell of a lot more than money, my friend. Ever been to a Chinese construction site? Thousands will die laying these tracks.

              1. mtrueman|3.13.16 @ 8:04PM|#
                “…Thousands will die laying these tracks.”

                Lies? You say you want LIES? Well, you’re in luck; trueman is here!

                1. “You say you want LIES?”

                  Says the creepy defender of communist construction practices.

                  1. “Says the creepy defender of communist construction practices.”

                    I told ya!
                    We got LIES! We got lies by the bushel! We got lies like you can’t believe!
                    Why, just check back here in a bit and you’re find trueman has offered a whole new batch of LIES!
                    It’s all he’s got, folks. He’ll make up any claim at all with zero support and offer it along with all the other lies he posts.
                    LIES! He’s the pro!

                    1. Fail. You forgot shitbag.

                    2. Amazing! A post without a lie!
                      Corrected:
                      “He’s a shitbag pro!”

  3. operate without a subsidy

    Bwahahahaha!

    1. They promise it will work this time!

      1. Just like Socialism!

    1. This will be Solydra like in its opportunity for graft and bad press.

    2. So, like paying the cops to stop drugs, paying these guys to stop terrorism will ensure that terrorism never goes away. Got it.

      1. Import Muslims, hire anti-terrorism trainers and anti-racism trainers, hire FBI and NSA people to spy on them, and the economy grows!

        1. I like that on the one hand the president tells us Islam means peace, but on the other hand organizations run by the president only give anti-terrorism grants to Islamic organizations.

          If Islam means peace, why is it the only religion we feel obliged to give money to in order to combat terrorism among its adherents?

          1. Along those lines, why is it the only religion that “gets highjacked”?

            1. And why is it the only religion where when you criticize it people assume you’re personally engaged in hate speech against all Muslims rather than criticizing aspects of their faith? Strangely, no one thinks I’m attacking every individual Catholic when I criticize the Church’s response to the pedophile scandal.

              1. And why is it the only religion where when you criticize it people assume you’re personally engaged in hate speech against all Muslims rather than criticizing aspects of their faith?

                Terror is committed for political reasons (by and large). They (terrorists) wrap it in religion to gain the support of the stupid.

                1. Terror is committed for political reasons (by and large).

                  This.

                  Which is something both lefties and righties seem to gloss past in their identity-politics bullshit (with once whining about Islamophobia and colonialism and the other about how the Koran is a Jihad-madate)

                  The Islamist arab groups that have latched onto terrorism as their chosen M.O. havent done so because terrorism is approved by the Koran…. If they had armies? they’d use armies. They simply use terrorism because its effective and is fairly ‘low risk’.

                  I think its notable that ISIS really is *far less* like a ‘terror organization’ and more like a proper revolutionary rebel Army attempting to capture territory and impose political rule. Yet people still talk about them as though they’re something unique and different because OMG its teh Islams.

                2. I’m not sure our friends in these groups would recognize the difference between political and religious considerations. Not all of us experienced the enlightenment.

              2. “And why is it the only religion where when you criticize it people assume you’re personally engaged in hate speech against all Muslims rather than criticizing aspects of their faith?”

                The answer, rube, is Trump.

          2. Uh…everything President Not My Fault says is the opposite of the truth?

  4. What is the point of having laws if the train project can go against all the promises they made and nothing happens

    1. Laws are for you to obey, not them. Laws are how our masters give us our orders.

    2. This is hard to figure; there is no way that “all the funds [have been] identified for an [any] operating segment” at the very least.
      Is the judge bought? Stupid? WIH goes on here?

      1. The Judge thinks its both a tax and a fine.

      2. Judge: “I don’t understand railroads or funding, but I know political suicide when I see it. Let someone else fall on the 3rd rail.

        1. So, bent?
          Yeah, that’s always a possibility.

    3. First rule of government contracting: always make sure you’re the one receiving cash for goods and services to be rendered at a future time.

      Never be the one paying the government for goods and services to be rendered at a future time.

      These people tried to contract with the government.

      And the judge just said, “It’s too early to see if they’re not going to satisfy the contract. You have to wait until they’ve taken your land and built the entire train system before we really know the obviously inevitable outcome.”

      Any private company that was pulling this shit would find themselves out of cash immediately, with investors long gone.

      Never contract on the receiving end with the one organization that can avoid any contract they like.

    4. The judge said the issues are not yet “ripe”. I assume he means they haven’t violated any of the promises yet because they haven’t spent the money yet nor built any track.

      See, once they have built the system on the wrong route with wrong schedules and wrong speeds and the legislature has doubled the bonds to keep up with construction costs and the legislature has approved operating subsidies, THEN the issues will be ripe.

  5. Time for a bailout.

    http://hotair.com/archives/201…..own-by-25/

    1. Take a look at the list of demands which students at Yale handed to the administration recently. They are intended to promote a social justice agenda and it will come as no surprise that most of them involve the college spending ever increasing amounts of money toward that goal.

      Well most of their professors learned at the knee of Shakedown Jessee and Snitchy Al what did you think was going to be on their list of demands?

    2. “Schools operate as a business, even though most are at least partially subsidized by your tax dollars. When that business can no longer profitably operate, it closes its doors. Perhaps that’s the first hard lesson some of these kids need to learn and managing to shut down the school they wanted to attend could be a good start.”

      The kids aren’t the only ones that need to learn. A majority of the faculty need this lesson as well.

      1. I look at your handle and figure it’s the tail-number on a GA aircraft.

  6. BTW, a ride south on I-5 not long ago featured many “WATER, NOT TRAINS” signs. For whatever good that does.

    1. a ride south on I-5 not long ago featured many “WATER, NOT TRAINS” signs.

      THIS IS WHY WE NEED MORE FEDERALLY DIRECTED INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING

      its obvious that local people have no idea how their money should be spend and need more politically connected experts at top levels to direct ‘infrastructure’ funds appropriately

      1. Some of the others were smelling more than a bit of hypocrisy:
        “Get government out of water distribution!” on farmland that’s prolly worth more in subsidies and water rights than cash crops…

        1. People’s view on limited government tends to be limited to the “free stuff” other people get.

  7. “In his ruling, Judge Michael Kenny stated that there was not enough evidence and that the claims made in the suit were “not ripe for review”, which means that the project can move forward.”

    That ruling is ripe!

    Whew, I can smell it all the way from LA!

  8. I always wondered what is so attractive about rail to the looter class. Then I found out how that shit works.

    They steal real estate through eminent domain and buy up surrounding land at low prices before anyone else knows where the rail will be. It truly is a boondoggle accompanied by massive theft so of course they love it.

    1. The only good part of the 2nd season of True Detective was their pretty accurate depiction of all the graft that goes into railroad projects.

      I’m convinced Nic Pizzolato is some kind of closet libertarian given that all of his cop characters are violent thugs and he made a T.V. show based on graft related to public sector unions.

    2. I always wondered what is so attractive about rail to the looter class.

      You can’t send people to the gulag in cattle cars without trains!

      1. A decentralized system of concentration camps would favor trucking.

    3. Suthenboy|3.13.16 @ 2:48PM|#
      “I always wondered what is so attractive about rail to the looter class.”

      S, consider this a union hiring hall on wheels, and you’ll get a good part of the reason moonbeam is pitching it.

      1. a union hiring hall on wheels,

        Yep.

        While NYC has layer upon layer upon layers of public-spending ripoffs and union-contractor bloodletting on a constant basis….

        …the most blatant, ridiculous, epic-wasteful things they manage to get pushed into budgets past the opposition of nearly every single person not either in political office or running a union?

        tend to involve trains. (or subways)

        NYC has easily blown *$50 billion* on train-related projects in the last 20 years. More! (the two linked above account for $40bn by themselves) and i’d guess 80-90% of that was complete waste.

  9. This boondoggle makes even less sense when you consider that an existing passenger line starts in Seattle, goes through Portland and Sacramento and runs from SF Bay to LA and beyond to SD. The route is considered one of the most spectacular in the world and they can’t keep the train full. I recommend riding the SD or LA to Pismo Beach to see great natural beauty and Government Rail at work. Pro tip: bring your own food and as long as you don’t flash your own booze they will never know.

    1. Suthenboy you are correct. That is why REAL railroad companies dropped passenger service (except Rio Grande) in the early 1970’s. They never made much money at it and with airlines becoming the norm and the Postal contracts eliminated they knew they could never make money with PAX. The Gov’t came by and let them drop a loss generating service so they could concentrate on their real market- moving bulk goods cheaply. Nobody in the world can touch US freight rail service.

      I enjoy rail in Europe for city to city service but the scale of the US makes PAX rail impractical except for commuter and the Boston-DC corridor. Brown’s choo-choo will pay his union minions and screw the state and the US taxpayers.

      1. “I enjoy rail in Europe for city to city service but the scale of the US makes PAX rail impractical except for commuter and the Boston-DC corridor”

        Exactly right. These leftists assume light rail is a brilliant idea in the US because it works in Western Europe and Japan, but they completely ignore the massive population density of Western Europe and Japan which makes rail lines more practical. The only place in this country that long distance passenger trains make sense is in the northeast. The rest of the country is far too open and there aren’t enough closely situated major population centers.

        I remember dipshits in Madison, Wisconsin complaining that Scott Walker nixed the railway line that was supposed to go from Chicago to Madison to Milwaukee. That was a complete joke because there would never be enough people riding that rail line. I love Madison, but why the fuck would anyone in Chicago want to take a train to Madison or Milwaukee? Anything you could possibly want in either of those cities you can easily get in Chicago. The only people who would take that train are college kids going to UW and rich Madisonians going to shop on the Magnificent Mile.

        1. Oh, and of course the leftists also tried to argue it was totally okay because the feds were paying for it so why would we not take free federal money?

          Completely ignoring the fact that a) it comes out of your taxes anyway, dumbasses and b) the feds aren’t going to be there to maintain it in 30 years when it needs repairs and they’re not going to be paying the people working on the train line.

        2. “The rest of the country is far too open and there aren’t enough closely situated major population centers.”

          Our ‘open borders’ policy should fix that.

    2. an existing passenger line starts in Seattle, goes through Portland and Sacramento and runs from SF Bay to LA and beyond to SD. The route is considered one of the most spectacular in the world and they can’t keep the train full.

      I’ve taken this train before, it is a spectacular journey along the Pacific Coast. The train seats are comfortable, the windows huge, and the ride is quiet and smooth. So why the half-full status?

      1) The itinerary indicates it takes long hours to get from point A to point B, much longer than driving the route (which is along freeways for much of the journey) and 4-5x longer than flying commercial.

      2) The cost of the ticket, even though subsidized, is still usually more than a much-shorter flight on Southwest. If you want a tiny stateroom so you can lie down during the journey, triple that price.

      3) The itinerary is fucked and never even close to being accurate. I’ve dropped off people for the train in Oakland, who had to wait over four hours for the train to finally arrive. And then, no matter how late you already are, expect the Amtrak to stop all the time and delay your arrival even further. Reason? Freight trains have priority on all the tracks, so the Amtrak has to pull over and wait for freighters to go by multiple times during each trip.

      So if you don’t want to drive, want to see the California coast in all its glory, have a wad of cash and have a couple of days to get to your destination, take the train.

      1. This for sure. Took the Coast Starlight from Seattle to LA a few years back. It was supposed to be as memory serves about a 48 hour trip, ending at the Los Angeles station noonish. Due to being sidetracked, we were 12 hours late; oddly enough, there are not many cabs at the Los Angeles train station at 1 am. Actually, there’s not much of anyone there at 1 am. Just to cap the experience, the cab driver who eventually did respond to the repeated phone calls was on his very first night and had no idea where Wilshire was (Really? Yes, really.) and wound up driving through one of the construction zones for the LA subway. Yep. Right past the construction barricades and out the other side. You really begin wondering about your vacation choices as you drive by 30′ deep construction pits with a driver with very limited English getting directions over the radio in one of those languages that involves much throwing of both hands in the air and angry-sounding yelling.

        On the other hand, the train does go by the mothball fleet in San Francisco, Vandenberg AF base, some extremely pretty scenery, and the prison at San Luis Obispo so there is plenty to see. SLO itself is also quite pretty, prison not withstanding. As you say, take it when you have an extra couple of days and aren’t worried about the cost.

      2. “2) The cost of the ticket, even though subsidized, is still usually more than a much-shorter flight on Southwest. If you want a tiny stateroom so you can lie down during the journey, triple that price.”

        We considered taking the train, SF – SEA some years back to meet a cruise ship.
        The cost was far more than driving and staying overnight in Oregon, including meals. And then we got the ‘we don’t guarantee times’.
        We drove.

  10. Judge Michael Kenny stated that there was not enough evidence and that the claims made in the suit were “not ripe for review”

    “Fuck it up in reality for a few years. Then perhaps we can shut down the project.”

  11. Nothing brings the country into the 21st century like forcing people to use transportation technology from the 19th.

    1. Geez, if we avoided all technology from before 1900 life might get difficult.

  12. In an example of “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” =

    Maryland Tries (and Fails) to Figure out How Much Their Light Rail Plan Actually Costs

    “”…determining in one month whether the contract is a good deal for Maryland taxpayers isn’t easy, and Madaleno said he’s concerned that the people best equipped to explain the complex details have a vested interest in it being approved.

    “I don’t hear the governor or the Department of Transportation talking about any of the risks,” said Madaleno, who describes himself as a longtime “skeptic” of the light-rail project. “We’re into the PR celebration more than a transparent and thoughtful review of the contract.”

    Even experts in such partnerships say it can require the expertise of a Wall Street financier or a highly specialized lawyer to make sense of them. Moreover, it appears that even the parts of the Purple Line deal that are more transparent to a layperson won’t get widespread scrutiny…. So far, no legislative hearings have been scheduled on the proposal.“”

    WHY SO WORRIED?! IT WILL WORK THIS TIME

  13. “allow the operation of trains every five minutes in each direction”

    What the fuck?
    So if I miss the 5:00 to San Francisco, I can hop on the 5:05?

    Sounds profitable.

    1. Yeah that had me wondering too. NYC can’t even run a train every five minutes during rush hour when every one of them is jam packed.

  14. Any bets on the hyper loop beating them to a working transportation solution?

  15. The joy folks is regardless of where you live you will be paying for this nightmare, This will be especially true if The Nut for Vermont or The Crook gets in office. They will sneak in a bailout in a “transportation” bill.

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