Town Square

Post a New Topic

Surprise, surprise--train backers need more $s

Original post made by Tim Hunt, Castlewood, on Apr 4, 2013

Was anyone surprised that the state high-speed rail authority was back seeking more money this week.
The authority announced that it will take another $97 million to pay for consultants and additional staff to keep the first segment of the slow rail moving forward. The 90-mile initial segment will not, as built, be capable of carrying high-speed trains, so declares former high-speed rail chair and original backer, retired Judge Quentin Kopp. His is one of several declarations due to be argued in court about whether the authority is acting lawfully to build the first segment it has chosen.
In addition, the state, has filed an unusual validation action that basically says sue us now or forget ever having standing to sue again. It is an unusual legal maneuver, one designed to give the authority cover.
The authority directors, last month, authorized the sale of bonds, even though they are tapping a separate state fund for the extra $97 million.
The feds also are being remarkably flexible with the authority, advancing almost $1 billion for expenses without requiring the one-to-one match immediately. The agreement was modified to accommodate this questionable maneuver. You have seen no such flexibility from the president who decided that White House tours will be suspended as the result of the sequester instead of moving some money around to continue to accommodate visitors.
Of course, questionable tactics have been routine for the authority, which has a shortfall of nearly $60 billion to make up to construct the rail system that is supposed to cost $69 billion. It makes the twin tunnels in the Delta of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan seem small at $24 billion over 50 years. The high-speed choo-choo is $70 billion in round numbers before the inevitable construction cost over-runs and none of that is operating money. The BDCP has its basic funding stream established—user pays—while the rail authority still is dreaming of additional federal money and private investment.
The governor continues to jam both projects forward—one is necessary because the current situation in the Delta is worsening and must be resolved—while the other is part of his green pipe dream.
Notably, part of the governor's green agenda is one-third of power coming from renewable sources—not including hydro power. Californians already pay among the highest electrical power rates in the nation and the 33 percent renewable will only increase those costs. So, the high-speed rail, should it ever be built—will be running on very expensive electricity.

Comments (1)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Casanova_Frankenstein
a resident of Old Towne
on Apr 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

Casanova_Frankenstein is a registered user.

Surprise, surprise--haters gotta h8.

Tim, are you a lawyer or an expert on this topic? I only ask because you cite no one, credit no sources, and you fail to establish either your credentials on the topic or specific experience when you make sweeping claims such as the highly unusual nature of the validation action or the "questionable" actions of the Obama administration by relaxing the timing CA has to match the federal funds.

If you're not careful, people might just get the impression that you are just a blowhard who feels that your own uninformed opinion, if boldly and snarkily stated, should be accepted on blind faith by us lesser mortals.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


To post your comment, please click here to Log in

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Vote YES on Measures 45, 46, & 47, NO on 48
By Roz Rogoff | 30 comments | 2,010 views

Prop 47: not perfect, just preferable.
By Tom Cushing | 2 comments | 647 views