California's High-Speed Rail Boondoggle: An Interview With CFEC's Eric Christen


"I'm sorry, but it's the largest project in United States history, and if I could have more than a minute of your time, I would really appreciate it," said Eric Christen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC), during a committee hearing regarding California's $68 billion high-speed rail project. Christen was soon cut off by assembly member Bonnie Lowenthal, who cited time constraints.  Video available here (encounter starts at 56:50).

Reason's Scott Shackford sat down with Christen to discuss the increasingly expensive high-speed rail projections, the corruption and handouts that regularly occur in drafting California's public works contracts, and how CFEC is working to push against the unfair collusion of government and unions.

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Runs about 7 minutes.

Interview by Scott Shackford. Shot by Zach Weissmueller and Tracy Oppenheimer. Edited by Weissmueller.

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  1. People thought Jerry Brown was kidding when he said he had the unions in his pocket during the run up to the last election. $68,000,000,000 (for starters) buys a shitload of union!

    1. He's behind the times. He needs to cut out the middle man and just buy the votes.

      1. Say what you want about Jerry but he is a believer in the proud traditions of TEAM BLUE.

      2. This is certainly the nicest-work I have ever done.. Earn 10 to 50$/hr working from home with Google! I work two shifts 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids I follow this great link

  2. Oh, and if anyone believes the project will be completed for $68Bn, I've got some ridership predictions for a real good price!

    1. I have predicted $200 Billion (assuming it ever gets built).

      I am beginning to believe I underestimated.

      1. $125 Bn if it doesn't.

        1. These kind of predictions will never be resolved, because it will never be 'complete'. You should state your prediction on dollars per mile of completed and utilized track.

          Also, predictions on operational losses per year are welcomed.

          My predictions
          Cost: $350 million per mile
          Losses: $100 million per year starting in 2032 (10 years behind schedule)

          1. Oh, who am I kidding. CA will most likely throw $30 billion down this rat hole and then go broke without ever running a single paying passenger train.

  3. Christen is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in California (CFEC), which pushes against the unfair collusion of government and unions in California.

    Some sort of Nazi, then?

    1. I admit it, when I heard "Coalition for Fair Employment in California" my conditioned response was to assume he was another union shill.

      1. The trick, to get and keep your little organization tax free status, is to put the word "Fair" in randomly. They'll assume you're a commie front group and never audit you.

        1. The Coalition for the Fair Dismantling of Government.

  4. What? No Thatcher? YOU BASTARDS!

    1. No shit, the woman was a major political figure and now she's dead. You'd think they'd at least devote an article or two to her.

      1. Well, she wasn't a lefty twit and she didn't write about a lot of movies, so we need to keep our priorities straight.

  5. I don't have sound @ work. Let me guess = is the short answer, "The Unions own California"?? Do tell. I'm-a-shockedtified!

  6. But if they don't have high speed rail, how will they deliver artisanal mayonnaise from San Francisco to Los Angeles?

    1. The same way they always have. Inside condoms smuggled up the anus. That's what gives it it's special "tang."

      1. As a lifelong lover of mayonnaise, let me be the first to say it: ew.

    2. I thought sloopy lived in SoCal. Shouldn't the artisinal mayo be going from LA to SF?

    3. ..."how will they deliver artisanal mayonnaise from San Francisco to Los Angeles?"

      Interesting you should ask.
      Our R&D dept has been working on this exact issue and we think we have a solution with great positive externalities.
      We are employing teen-age males,located every 1/4 mile, with Whamo surgical-tubing sling shots.
      Presto! Transportation and employed teens!


    Intrade is going broke. It is basically a bookie service. How the hell does the house lose? What a bunch of retards.

    1. I don't know, but the UK has plenty of political betting websites and I don't think Intrade really ranks over there (it is an Irish Republic company I think).

      Intrade seems mostly to have been big in the US market, and the US fairly recently has been trying to shut it down.

      It might be going under because it's customer base got banned.

      1. How the hell does the house lose?

        It might be going under because it's customer base got banned.

        Yep. The house only loses if no one plays.

    2. Intrade is going broke. It is basically a bookie service. How the hell does the house lose? What a bunch of retards.

      Don't know...but somewhere shreeky is inconsolable.

  8. Didn't Margaret Thatcher cancel that project already?

  9. Who comes up wioth all that crazy stuff?

  10. If workers want to form unions in the private sector, no problem. In the public sector, big problem. The temptations to steal this supposedly "democratic" country from the rest of it's citizens is far too great. Which is pretty much what has happened.

    1. John Galt| 4.8.13 @ 7:55PM |#
      "If workers want to form unions in the private sector, no problem."
      Agreed. You may associate with whom you choose.
      But don't ask the government to protect a 'picket line' which is a group of thugs keeping other people from doing what they wish, regardless of the employer of those who wish to form a union.

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