Friday, April 03, 2015

Harris, Newsom oppose high-speed rail

The eagle-eyed folks at (Rising CA Democratic stars want no part of bullet trainand the San Diego Union-Tribune (Why Kamala Harris avoids Brown’s train wrecknoticed Kamala Harris's reservations about Governor Brown's dumb high-speed rail project at the very end of a recent NY Times interview with Harris.

Harris is quoted:

Ms. Harris said she did not have an opinion on whether the high-speed train that Mr. Brown has made a centerpiece of his administration — and which has drawn strong opposition from Republicans — should proceed. “I haven’t looked closely enough at it as an issue where I’ve formed an opinion,” she said. “I’m a career prosecutor,” she said. “I have been trained, and my experience over decades, is to make decisions after a review of the evidence and the facts. And not to jump up with grand gestures before I’ve done that. Some might interpret that as being cautious. I would tell you that’s just responsible.”

That's just flab-gab to avoid embarrassing Governor Brown. It's safe to assume that Harris has already looked at the evidence, which is why she's distancing herself from this poorly-conceived, "grand gesture" of a project. 

The Union-Tribune discusses the legal realities that Attorney General Harris has already had to face:

So when Harris declines to endorse the project, maybe it’s not because she is ignorant of its details. Maybe it’s because the state’s top law-enforcement official understands that the taxpayer safeguards contained in Proposition 1A are real, not decorative. And she realizes that at some point, these safeguards will trump the glib spin of Gov. Jerry Brown and all the other bullet-train enthusiasts who choose to forget the binding promises that were made in 2008.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has been less coy about his opposition to the boondoggle, which was reported back in 2013. quotes an LA Times 2014 interview with Newsom:

Says Newsom: “You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger champion of high-speed rail than me when the bond went to voters. I believed in it. But my current problem with it is the financing. I can’t in good conscience square what I was supporting then with what we’re doing today.” He says Brown is confident the project eventually will attract private investment. “If so, that changes the game.”

“But absent something significant---and I mean, really significant---I can’t see supporting something that would come at such a high cost to other infrastructure. I don’t see how we could go forward. There’s got to be a different financing plan. Without it, the math doesn’t add up.”

As a not-so-young local star in the Democratic Party, Mayor Lee supports the project

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At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Doris Gheltiun said...

Disgusting lies. High Speed Rail is by far the most important infrastructure project in this state. Those who "oppose" it should be fined $100 ... that would certainly help pay for it!

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It would take a lot of fines to even begin to help pay for a $68 billion project, which is itself a gross underestimate of the real pricetag on this project.

You need to do some homework on the project. You could start here.

This analysis will also provide a good primer on the project.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With CA HSR, the spending never ends. Every ticket purchased by a HSR passenger would require a tax payer subsidy greater than the cost of a round trip air ticket. And this is after the entire system has been paid off. I read somewhere that it would be cheaper for the state of California to provide 3 round trip airline tickets per year to everyone in the state FOR FREE for over 100 years than to build HSR. Also, aren't HSR ticket prices to be higher than air or auto travel, even with the tax payer subsidy?

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Ticket prices for the high-speed rail system have always been a disputed issue. HSR supporters originally pretended that ticket prices would be a lot lower so that the system could compete with driving and flying, a claim that doesn't hold up under analysis.

See this on the driving comparison.

See this on the flying comparison.

In 2008 California voters voted for a HSR system that would not---if/when it was actually built---require taxpayers' subsidy to operate, unlike every other high-speed rail system in the world. That was the promise supporters of the project made to persuade voters to pass Proposition 1A, which they did with only 52% of the vote.

That promise can be seen in the Official Voter Information Guide.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I should have pointed out that Harris also doesn't want to embarrass President Obama by opposing California's HSR project, since, alas, the president supports the dumb project.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Obama, there may be something to the rumors that he's supporting HSR as a way of diverting money away for our troops who are fighting Islamofascism despite Obummer's attempts to thwart their heroic efforts.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Muddled and ridiculous. The president can't "divert" any money to the project without congressional approval. Since the Repugs have controlled Congress since 2010, there's been no more federal money invested in high-speed rail in California---or anywhere else, for that matter.


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