Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 and High-Speed Rail: We have out work cut out for us.

A little wishful thinking is OK.  We just have to be very careful not to indulge in such fantasizing too much.  I'm already hearing from far too many people about how the momentum has swung our way and that the high-speed rail project is on its way to the shredder, never to be heard from again.  That kind of thinking is way premature.

The point of Barnridge's satirical comments, below, is to suggest that the rail authority has known all along what a scam this project is, and with that, I certainly can't disagree. Everything points in that direction.  They've been doing nothing but pushing a sales pitch at us.  You have to ask why any government agency is so aggressive at promoting a project that it is willing to lie to the voters and all the taxpayers. 

Perhaps Barnridge's single most important message is the one that has been the basic mantra of this blog: It's not about the train; it's about the money! 

This blog has been dedicated to this discussion, not only regarding the California high-speed rail project, but the entire high-speed rail concept in the US.  We enter this new year with renewed dedication to considering all the outpourings from the press and looking at the underlying issues with which we must become familiar to understand all the dimensions of high-speed rail and why we oppose it. 

Our purpose for this blog is to inform and to share what we are learning.  We intend to continue to draw on as many sources of information as we can and provide our analysis of the situation at both the trees and the forest level.

Here are some of the key themes that we need to follow:

1. Transit and Transportation, local, regional, statewide and national
2. Financing, cost-benefits, cost/effectiveness, revenues and capitalization
3. Politics and the upcoming national elections
4. Forces in opposition such as lawsuits, new exposition of CHSRA's mis-management, Washington's actions
5. HSR elsewhere, costs, productivity, other economies.

Barnidge: Stories we'd like to see in the new year
By Tom Barnidge 
Contra Costa Times columnist
Posted: 12/31/2011 04:45:16 PM PST
Updated: 12/31/2011 09:02:00 PM PST

One of the beauties of a new year is it comes with a blank canvas. No resolutions have been broken. No hopes have been dashed. We are free to harbor outlandish wishes.

Here are the 2012 stories we'd like to see:

High speed derailed
The California High Speed Rail Authority announced today that it is shutting down its operation as soon as all its directors have exhausted their expense accounts and landed cushy jobs elsewhere.

"We knew this was a boondoggle from the outset," a spokesman said, "but it was so much fun pulling numbers from thin air.

"We said it would cost $33 billion, and no one blinked. We made it $45 billion, and legislators said, 'fine.' Then we pushed the envelope -- none of us thought $98 billion would fly -- and the governor, God love him, was still on board. He didn't even mind $6 billion to connect Bakersfield with Chowchilla. That was supposed to be a joke.

"Truth is, we don't have a clue what a bullet train would cost, how many people would ride it or what the cost of tickets would be. Who cares? We never thought it would get this far. It's pretty cool what you can get away with if you act like you know what you're doing."

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