High Speed Rail

Feds Restore $929 Million in Funds for California's Billion-Dollar Bullet Train Boondoggle

A grant revoked under President Donald Trump will be returned.

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California's wasteful high-speed rail project is getting a predictable boost under train-loving President Joe Biden. On Thursday, the Biden administration announced it was restoring $929 million in grants that had been revoked by the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Donald Trump.

Trump used the terrible state of the rail project—years behind schedule, billions over budget, and without a realistic plan for actually connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco—as a reason to shut the funding down. His feud with California political leadership certainly played a role in the decision, but the reality is that the entire train project has been an expensive disaster that has lined a bunch of contractors' and consultants' pockets.

California sued the Trump administration to try to get the money back. Yesterday's announcement is the result of a settlement agreement between California and the Biden administration to restore the grant.

This is bad news for taxpayers, but hardly unpredictable. The Biden administration is looking to spend trillions on infrastructure projects that include high-speed rail. Biden imagines citizens traversing the country on these expensive trains, even though they can already travel more efficiently on airplanes.

The $929 million is actually a drop in the bucket compared to the $75 billion Amtrak is begging for to expand its money-losing routes across the country. But at this point, California's bullet train is estimated to cost somewhere between $69–100 billion, and California voters only initially authorized a $10 billion bond for the program. Cap-and-trade auctions, in which companies purchase pollution credits, have not been bringing in nearly as much revenue for the project as had been hoped. California will likely be going to the feds, hat in hand, looking for even more grants to pay for the project to continue.

Below, Reason TV explains what supporters of high-speed rail should be learning from California's costly mess (which to be clear, is to not throw more money at it):

 

NEXT: CW’s The Republic of Sarah Is No Free State Project

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  1. Goddamn. Is there anything that Biden won’t piss away money on? Is he capable of spending money in increments less than a trillion?

    1. Now do the Orange Man.

      1. Ooh. Trump being completely irresponsible as to deficits makes it ok that Biden is too? Sure, pal.

        1. Trump was irresponsible on deficits, but Biden is insane on spending and deficits. Still the use will have an economic crash. The Republicans would delay it, the Democrats are accelerating it. the biggest problem is the Republicans only find fiscal responsibility when Democrats are in power. But Republicans can spend to much because the Democrats never find financial responsibility no matter who is in power. The Democrat instead of being a financial check on Republican spending aid in Republican spending!

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          2. the Republicans only find fiscal responsibility when Democrats are in power.

            No they don’t. They USE ‘fiscal responsibility’ (the phrase) as a way of avoiding thinking about actual fiscal responsibility. To bludgeon D’s. To rally die-hard partisans like you who do not want fiscal responsibility but who rather like ‘fiscal responsibility’. To ensure that deceitful flimflam con artists like you can posture a bit. To find a way to blame D’s for R spending – The Democrat instead of being a financial check on Republican spending aid in Republican spending!. An exclamation mark no less. Must be true!!

            1. Oh, goody: SCARE QUOTES from an asshole totally out of touch with reality.
              Tell us how many millions in the US were GONNA DIE from the WuFlu!
              Fuck off and die.

          3. When the only two options are ‘bad’ (R) and ‘much worse’ (D), I suggest choosing ‘bad’ in the interim, while seeking a better option. The fact that neither is perfect does not make them equivalent.

        2. Trump was irresponsible on deficits, but Biden is insane on spending and deficits. Still the USA will have an economic crash. The Republicans would only delay it, the Democrats are accelerating it. the biggest problem is the Republicans only find fiscal responsibility when Democrats are in power. But Republicans can spend to much because the Democrats never find financial responsibility no matter who is in power. The Democrat instead of being a financial check on Republican spending aid in Republican spending!

      2. Trump cancelled this, idiot

      3. The only alternative to Biden wasn’t/isn’t Trump. None of us who have any sense voted for Trump. Republicans suck. So do democrats. Don’t come here with that bullshit.

        1. “B-b-b-b-both Sides!!!”

          Lol, fuck off.

        2. The Dems are massively worse than the Repubs on spending. This story highlights but one little example – “On Thursday, the Biden administration announced it was restoring $929 million in grants that had been revoked by the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Donald Trump”.

        3. “…None of us who have any sense voted for Trump…”

          Shit-for-brains here would have it that no one should have voted for the most libertarian president in the last century.
          Shit-for-brains here should shove his TDS up his ass to give his head some company.

      4. “Now do the Orange Man.”

        Now go look for a brain-cell, you stinking pile of lefty shit.

    2. small price to pay for no.more meantweets

      1. Those tweets were very mean. Practically uNprEsiDEntiAL.

        He publicly criticized Don Lemon on Twitter which is a hate crime against JournoLism. Democracy dies in darkness.

        1. With the way the WaPo and other MSM outlets are covering Biden, it’s amazing they haven’t changed their masthead yet.

          When it goes from “Democracy Dies in Darkness” to “Ignorance is Strength”, will we all be expected to convince ourselves that it never changed?

    3. When money is made of paper, no project is too wasteful.

      1. This money is not even paper.

        1. To be sure, there’s no shortage of 1s and 0s….

    4. Feds Restore $929 Million in Funds for California’s Billion-Dollar Bullet Train Boondoggle A grant revoked under President Donald Trump will be returned.more detail………….CLICK HERE.

    5. This article made me so angry I actually came out of hiding to reply.
      $929M
      Sure it’s a drop in the bucket in the great scheme of things; and/but Gavin needs to pay off his anti-recall supporters.

      Didn’t the people of California vote this embarrassment dead?

      How about roads and bridges. New water reservoirs (last was new Melones in 1970) pop. increased from ~20M to ~39M. Better forest management and fire control………….and, and, and.
      The list could go on forever. For anything but this!
      There it’s off my chest, I’ll probably cancel the account now.

    6. Ya, umm, sh!t happens when someone tries to build high-speed rail for the first time, before fully developing all the skills needed. Welcome to everybody’s experience when adopting new technology.

      I also notice that the psychopaths/sociopathic liars don’t whine about the fact that the first transcontinental railroad ALSO had “cost overruns and construction delays”

      Then there is the following that was pointed out to me in a comment at the far-Right Conservative The Hill:

      “In 1887 Congress and then President Grover Cleveland created the U.S. Pacific Railroad Commission to investigate the finances of the railroads. When the Commission submitted its report in 1888 they had found the directors and officers of Union Pacific had acquired in construction fraud alone $23.3 million, which in today’s dollars would be just shy of $1.17 billion.”

  2. Opposite is the name of the game. Democrats used filibuster often during the last GOP majority. Now it’s racist.

    They are literally calling Manchin and Sinema “fascists”.

    Inflation is good and so are higher interest rates (nearly ever economist not named Krugman or Yellen took that apart).

    Nuclear power was bad and solar good, until it was shown that in fact nuclear power is lower CO2 overall. Now solar bad and nuclear good. Big boondoggles in any case for cronies there.

    Trains to nowhere always bad (Houston proved this) but let’s spend billions more because Feinstein or Pelosi’s husbands are probably making a killing on it.

    1. Oh one more, Swallwell and Schiff loved NSA wiretapping and spyong on Americans, until they found out it included them too.

      1. Reminds me of Pelosi freaking out about the very same thing like 15 years ago.

      2. Chines spy balling son of a bitch.

  3. His feud with California political leadership certainly played a role in the decision, but tThe reality is that the entire train project has been an expensive disaster that has lined a bunch of contractors’ and consultants’ pockets.

    FTFY

    1. Seriously.

      “His feud with” is stated like Trump started it. The vitriol from our state politicians, before Trump had even taken office, was absolutely insane.

      Of course this is going to be something to criticize. It was promised as what feels like a good thing — I’d love to take a train to San Francisco that got me there in a couple hours — but the reality is that it costs 10x as much and now seems only to go between Bakersfield to Fresno. In other words, from where nobody wants to be to where nobody wants to go.

      Fish in a barrel man. Biggest boondoggle since the Simpsons’ monorail.

      1. At least you won’t have to hitchhike:

        “I’ve done a thousand miles of thumbin’,
        Yes, I’ve worn blisters on my heels
        Trying to find me something better
        On the streets of Bakersfield.

        You don’t know me but you don’t like me,
        You say you care less how I feel
        How many of you that sit and judge me
        Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?”

        1. On this train, the only way to get to Bakersfield is from Fresno.

          1. They should extend it northward at least to Lodi.
            That way if you’re stuck in Lodi again, and want to walk the streets of Bakersfield, you’d just hop on the train.

        2. Hwy 99 between Bakersfield and Sacramento is one long homeless encampment. The trains will give them somewhere to sleep.

          Don’t be so heartless.

  4. Surely the democrats will need high speed rail to transport boxes and boxes full of ballots to where they are needed?

  5. What is the libertarian position on trains? No trains because they make it hard to preserve property rights? No trains because they require government involvement? Let’s do trains, but hire the right people this time?

    1. Speaking for myself (certainly not all libertarians), basically, if there is a need for passenger service in an area, the free-market will provide it. If not, then it most likely isn’t needed.

      1. Perfect answer.

      2. I’d typically agree with you, but that is also in the absence of government imposed prohibition. Look at Uber and Lyft for example. Their competitors are trying to regulate them into oblivion despite the demand.

        1. “I’d typically agree with you, but that is also in the absence of government imposed prohibition. Look at Uber and Lyft for example.”

          But of course. Big government regulates (or bans) as much as they think they can get away with, resulting in shortages — from housing materials to transportation — which, of course, they say they have to step in to “correct, because the free market isn’t working.

      3. Pandemic raised the prices a bit, but when bullet train started one could fly between LA and SF for fifty bucks. With choice of four to five airports on either end. A dozen flights a day.

        The market DID provide a solution!

        1. A dozen? Try several dozen. There are 5 LA area airports and 3 Bay Area airports, each with 3 to 11 flights to each of the others, starting at about 119 bucks now (on short notice). And that’s just on Southwest.

        1. Yeah, but they don’t go through Fresno!!! and it doesn’t stop at every city, which, of course, are just FULL of people, by the millions, DYING to get to the LA cesspool./sarc

          1. Fresno has an airport.

      4. Thanks for the answer. To me, your answer basically translates to “no trains” at least in contemporary context. Which — I dunno — maybe that is the correct answer — not inclined to agree right away, but I don’t have any great reason against what you said.

        1. Technology from the 1800’s isn’t the answer. We might as well ride horses.

        2. “To me, your answer basically translates to “no trains” at least in contemporary context. ”

          Not at all. Passenger rail is lots of places. A few of them even operate with only minor subsidies. The deal is, most of them are intra-city, or routes between nearby cities, meaning short hops with lots of passengers. One can justify, at least in principle, that such “commuter trains,” since they reduce the traffic, and wear-and-tear on infrastructure needed for autos and buses, can be justified. At least in principle. In reality, perhaps not so much.

      5. There is a legitimate national defense reason for passenger rail.

        This abortion is not legitimate, at any point.

        1. There might be a legitimate national defense reason for passenger freight rail.

        2. “There is a legitimate national defense reason for passenger rail…”

          Bullshit.

    2. “What is the libertarian position on trains?…”

      I’m sure you’re more than capable of filling us in on the brain-damaged position on trains.

  6. Why doesn’t Biden do us all a favor and “return” Kamala Harris to California?

  7. America is back!

  8. I love trains as well! The SF BART system worked good for me on a few occasions. Trump, on the other hand, loves his limousine and golf carts. Rapid transit systems my be a little bit of what you may call wasteful spending but it ain’t any worse than building beautiful walls and playing a round of golf. Ain’t that right Sevo!

    1. I think you are mute worthy.

      1. Sure, whatever you have to do to pacify yourself.

        1. Fuck off and die; I’ll be more than happy.

    2. Perhaps you missed part where this money isn’t going to result in there being an actual train? But spend that shit anyway, right?

      And I hate to be the one to break it to you but Trump isn’t president anymore.

      1. That’s such a noble rebuttal. Congratulations, you win!

        1. Resulting in such a smug and stupid response.
          Please fuck off and die

    3. We already have a parody account on here.

      1. “A” parody account?

        I thought this forum was at least half populated by parody, troll and 50 center, and shopright accounts. Part of its charm is how often Poe’s law comes into effect.

        1. My goal is to be all 3!

      2. You have to have two, so you can say that there are a “Pair-O’dese.”

    4. They are HIS limousine and HIS golf carts. He didn’t force you to buy them.

  9. This is “fuck you” money. And that’s exactly what he’s saying.

  10. Of course they eminent domained and condemned a quarter mile wide swath through the middle of Fresno, because of course a bullet train from LA to SF has to go through Fresno, because of course.

    This train is not about getting from LA to SF. It’s about being a boondoggle to line political pockets. Which is why it has to go through Fresno. Because there are politicians and assembly districts and congressional districts to make whistle stops at.

    The sensible route would have been to parallel Interstate 5. No cities and next to no towns to carve through. Just flat open ground.

    So of course there’s a giant scar now running through Fresno. Because of course they had to start building it in Fresno.

    1. By any chance, did the Democrats once again decide to bulldoze through the middle of black neighborhoods?

      1. That’s why it’s called a “bullet” train.

      2. Straight Outta Oildale.

    2. All the stops, of course, mean the “high speed” part will be an utter joke. Decelerating, stopping, waiting for people to get on/off, and accelerating is all much slower than cruising along at maximum speed, which an airplane is already doing faster.

      The halfway-sensible model for a high-speed train would connect two airports with no stops between, with an emphasis on providing space and comfort to the riders that modern air travel can’t match (since not being in the air increases the available weight budget). That, of course, can’t get government funding.

      1. That model is exactly why government shouldn’t be funding any kind of ‘trains’. Govt can no more operate trains than they can operate a DMV. The sole function of a govt plan to ‘operate trains’ is to a)grant a monopoly where there is no natural monopoly and b)provide jobs for bureaucrats.

        The D’s will always support the latter. That is their GOTV activist base just as social conservatives are the GOTV activist base for R’s. And activists get the spoils in our political system.

        But both R’s and D’s (and Reason/Koch/Randian/’neoliberals’) support the former. Which is why everyone seems perfectly happy ignoring the issue reframed as ‘high-speed trains’ (no natural monopoly) operating on ‘high-speed track’ (natural monopoly). These are not the same thing even if the former requires the latter and will not exist without it.

        IDK if there’s actually a demand for high speed train service there. And if there’s not, then there’s no point for high speed track to run on. But the only way to understand the issue non-corruptly is to separate the two – and that’s not what’s happening.

  11. Why not? They are just going to waste money anyways. And as a conservative in occupied CA there is not much we can do about it. As long as the idiots keep voting in these losers how can we change. But my plan to drive libs to Texas is working.

  12. Just think! In another twenty years or so, it will be possible to take a high-speed train between Stockton and Bakersfield! Exciting!

  13. This is wonderful news! After the high speed rail is built the people of California will be able to get from Bakersfield to Merced in only 2 hours and 40 min! By car it would take an entire 2 hours and 45 min!

    1. And, you get to buy a ticket to ride!

  14. Considering how much Cali donates yearly to the rest of the taker states, I’m kind of ok if they want to use it on a train (which yes, terribly budgeted and constructed so far but will be good once done.)

    Somehow we don’t have the same vigor towards scolding the taker states like KY and Alabama and such for wasting so much federal money. Wonder why that is..

    1. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a prima facie example of stupid.

      1. More like prima donna . . .

    2. Hahahahahahahahaha

    3. Dope.

    4. This is yet more – yes we are stupid and unwilling to reform ourselves. So we can’t get more stupid can we. Here hold my beer. insanity.

  15. “Feds Restore $929 Million in Funds for California’s Billion-Dollar Bullet Train Boondoggle
    A grant revoked under President Donald Trump will be returned.”

    Well, I guess it is better than funding Gender Studies Programs in Pakistan …

    1. Prolly better than another virus study in Wuhan, too.

  16. Maybe California can link up their high speed rail with Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere”. What a benefit that would be to the whole west coast! (sarc)

    1. The untold story is the bridge was a bridge to somewhere, namely the Ketchikan airport. New stories would always omit that part.

      1. I didn’t realize that. Guess I also didn’t realize that there are towns in the US that are not connected to anywhere else by road but only by air and water. My guess is ‘road’ is the only option that strict originalists can accept because there is no mention of ‘postal ferries from the airport’ in the Constitution.

  17. Correction, “Browndoggle”. This fraud was perpetrated on Californians by Jerry Brown — one of the most destructive politicians in recent history.

    1. “Recent” being defined as “since the Earth cooled.”

    2. The Californicators voted for it though.

  18. Democrats sure like to masturbate with trains.

  19. I propose funding for High Speed Clown Cars for Biden and everyone rooting for his installation.

  20. The REAL question here?? Why is the “Union” of States sending all this money to California???

    Crony Socialism Strikes AGAIN!

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  22. America is doomed.

  23. Question for the commenters:

    Has anyone heard tell of a rail project so obviously ill-judged that a Progressive politician WON’T fund it?

    1. There is a group of elected crooks (aka, Democrats) in Massachusetts who want the rest of us to pay $2 billion for a train that would carry only 36 (yes, thirty six) passengers a day. But that’s not the most expensive option. That prize goes to the $25 billion option that would carry only 820 passengers a day.

      The operation and maintenance costs alone vary from a low of $348 per trip to $2,457 per trip (yes, per passenger trip, every time a passenger boards a train).

      https://theberkshireedge.com/sticker-shock-east-west-rail-link-between-pittsfield-and-boston-could-cost-25-billion/

  24. If hyperloop works as anticipated at some point, then bullet train may look more empirically expensive by compare.

  25. Fresno to Bakersfield? !
    Ha Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah.
    Snort!
    Ha Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah

    1. Better yet, Fresno to Bakersfield at 75mph with intermediate stops.

      I’ll literally be faster for people to make the same trip driving on US-99, and if the estimates of the ticket prices (even with subsidies) come true, it’ll be cheaper for them to drive as well, provided their vehicle gets 20 mpg on the highway.

  26. There can be cited plenty of reasons. And the only thing with them being good reasons amounts to them having a constitutional ring or a good jibe of fairness.

    The bullet train would be a promotion of the arts & sciences, with Americans not being obliged to leave the border in order to evaluate a functional example.

    Such a train may have possible military practicality if ever needed. Although most airplanes would beat it, it would be far faster than boat and could move the National Guard or state police.

    The federal government must not be allowed to make financial decisions whenever these involve state-owned lands. There needs to be a constitutional amendment about this.

    1. “There needs to be a constitutional amendment about this.”
      It already exists; It’s just been ignored by [WE] Power-Mad mobs.

      Nazism (def; National Socialism) has slowly but surely taken over the USA by ‘pretending’ the Constitution doesn’t exist. One of this nations “Democracy” fans favorite traits.

    2. The current plan, as I understand it, inolves using a number of stretches of existing freight tracks; that will limit the trains to operating at or under 75mph (although they’ll still be paying to get trains capable of 200+mph).

      With the line running from Fresno to Bakersfield, the train will become a destination in and of itself, with “witnessing an example” of the tech (in a semi-functioning state) will likely be the primary reason for half or more of the passengers considering how few will have any meaningful reason to go to either Fresno or Bakersfield.

      If the NatGuard or State Police are needed somewhere urgently, it’ll likely be in a major city which the train won’t connect to, and using the system to transport them will still leave them 3+ hours (unless they then board aircraft) from the major urban centers that the line was supposed to connect.

  27. Crimeny, even Newsom isn’t a fan of the crazy train…..

    1. He still has to get some footage of someone getting on/off a train somewhere so that CA doesn’t have to pay back $2.4Billion that they got as part of the 2009 “stimulus” package for “shovel ready” projects. Why he’s willing to spend another $40Billion to make that happen is ponderous.

  28. Ya, umm, sh!t happens when someone tries to build high-speed rail for the first time, before fully developing all the skills needed. Welcome to everybody’s experience when adopting new technology.

    I also notice that the psychopaths/sociopathic liars don’t whine about the fact that the first transcontinental railroad ALSO had “cost overruns and construction delays”

    1. I do, but then I’m not a psycho/sociopath. There was the Great Northern built by J.J. Hill without any of those shenanigans. But then he’s still often derided as one of those 19th century “Robber Barons” by envious State Worshipers.

    2. HSR is hardly new tech. Japan and Europ have been doing it for decades (and even made offers to help CA, which were refused).

      None of this should have been surprising though, considering how long it took for L.A. Metro to start labelling the outside of their trains with “line” identifiers in the areas where multiple lines shared tracks and stations (another “new tech” that NYC had figured out 100+ years earlier). There was a time when the driver would just announce which line the train was going to continue on at the station where the tracks diverged, using a PA system that was only audible inside the cars.

  29. Then there is the following that was pointed out to me in a comment at the far-Right Conservative The Hill:

    “In 1887 Congress and then President Grover Cleveland created the U.S. Pacific Railroad Commission to investigate the finances of the railroads. When the Commission submitted its report in 1888 they had found the directors and officers of Union Pacific had acquired in construction fraud alone $23.3 million, which in today’s dollars would be just shy of $1.17 billion.”

  30. “Feds”. Not “Biden” or “Democrats”, but “Feds”.

  31. Retards.

  32. The Big Dig, West Coast style.

    1. Flawed comparison. The Big Dig eventually got the job done; the CA HSR still doesn’t have any plan for how to connect their route to either L.A. or S.F.

  33. At the pace they’re wasting money on that boondoggle, the extra $Billion ought to pay for maybe 20-25 miles of track to get laid.

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