Saturday, December 26, 2015

Two boondoggles: High-speed rail, delta tunnels

To his cherished high-speed rail project, Gov. Jerry Brown can now add his ambitious Delta tunnel project to the list of big plans arousing strong opposition. Especially in the Delta region itself, public opinion has turned sharply against the scheme, which would cost over $15 billion dollars and reshape the area with massive infrastructure construction...Delta landowners, Northern Californians and many environmentalists have for years opposed a conveyance, while labor unions and building trades groups that stand to benefit from a project support it” (emphasis added).

The unions don't care if these massive projects are dumb and waste taxpayers' money as long as they create jobs for their members.

Construction unions were among the top donors to the campaign to pass Proposition 1A, the November 2008 California ballot measure that authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion via bond sales for development of a “safe, reliable high-speed passenger train for the 21st century.” (See a chart of the top-40 donors to Proposition 1A below.)

That support was rewarded when administrators of the California High-Speed Rail Authority subsequently signed a Project Labor Agreement (disguised as a “Community Benefits Agreement”) with the unions for future construction. The Authority board never discussed nor voted on this costly and discriminatory insider deal.

Seven years after 53% of California voters approved Proposition 1A, the public has realized, to its dismay, that most of the promises about California High-Speed Rail were exaggerated, deceptive, or impossible to achieve. The project staggers from widespread grassroots opposition and relentless (and deserved) negative news coverage...

Click on image for larger view

SPUR, the so-called good government organization, continues to support the dumb high-speed rail project. This recent SPUR article (The Next Big Moves for Transportation on the Bay Area Peninsula) simply ignores all the project's problems and assumes the project will be built, which is increasingly unlikely.

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