Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fellow Democrats, drop High-Speed Rail or you will deserve to lose this election

Carville is a guy to take very seriously. What does what he says have to do with HSR? Everything. If my fellow Democrats were really smart, they would dump this vision, this program and California's project like a hot potato.

HSR is not about or for "the rest of us." Most of those of us struggling in this economy with mortgage payments, debts, and insecure jobs or no jobs, don't give a damn about building this train for the rich.  We can't afford a vacation to Disneyland.  We don't commute between San Francisco and Los Angeles. High-Speed Rail is a project for other people, not us. We are never going to be spending the premium costs of these most expensive train tickets available. . . . . that is, if this project is actually ever completed.

Which now seems most unlikely. Yeah, it will start and they will spend as much of the $6 billion that they can, but after that, can you see $100 billion -- or anything like that much -- becoming available to be spent on a train that runs no farther than 400 miles north and south within California?

The project is, more than ever, a major political manipulation.  The Union bosses who are the actual decision-makers are using this project for the same propaganda purposes as the elected officials they seek to influence.  The regular Union guys who show up at meetings and hearings are paid to show up; they need the money.  Mostly it's Union/ Democratic Party member collusion.  The Union rank-and-file are getting screwed in this so-called deal.

We are driving fewer miles on the road.  We are not waiting to ride high-speed rail instead. The point is we are travelling less. It costs to travel, even if the transit costs themselves were low -- which on costly HSR they certainly aren't. And it will cost when you get to wherever you are going. Travel, as we all know, isn't getting any less expensive.

Lower income people aren't about to give up their cars, trucks or SUVs.  That's a luxury for politically correct upper middle class people. Lower income people -- if that's where Democratic Party sympathies lie -- will not be riding high-speed rail.

Which is to say that the Democratic Party support for this train is highly contradictory and runs totally against Democratic Party ideology.  And for that, the Party will be punished this November.

The Democratic agenda totally ignores the on-the-ground realities behind high-speed rail. HSR is not public mass transit; it's no more "green" than other current transit modalities. And these modalities, like driving and flying, are being upgraded rapidly to be far more economical and fuel efficient. The outcomes of this trend are already visible in reduced national gasoline consumption.

It ought to be clear by now that there is no altruistic agenda behind the Democratic support for  HSR.  Our Party leaders are not doing us any favors.

The project in California, as advocated by the Governor and the Legislature, is totally self-serving, and on many levels, including career and resume benefits, profits, power, and political control.  As we like to say on this blog, it's not about the train at all; it's about the process.  And that means, getting and spending huge amounts of money.

I never thought I would think or say it, but my Democratic representatives deserve to lose this election if they don't relinquish this shameless charade.

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