Streetsblog worries about high-speed rail project
Below is a comment I submitted to StreetsblogCal on this story: Will L.A. Times’ Irresponsible Coverage of High Speed Rail Doom the Project?:
This project is like all big rail projects: it begins with lies by its supporters to get it started. See Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition, by Bent Flyvbjerg, Nils Bruzelius, Werner Rothengatter.
The authors studied a lot of infrastructure projects and came to this conclusion: "Cost underestimation and overrun cannot be explained by error and seem to be best explained by strategic misrepresentation, namely lying, with a view to getting projects started" (page 16, emphasis added).
Once a project is started, it's hard to stop, and good money has to be thrown after bad. Besides, even dumb projects create jobs for powerful construction unions, a major part of the Democratic Party's base here in California.
And for Streetsblog's readers the great thing about trains is they aren't cars and are therefore morally superior. Only bicycles rank higher in their estimation.
Randal O'Toole nailed this delusion: "All you have to do is mention the words 'public transit,' and progressives will fall over themselves to support you no matter how expensive and ridiculous your plans."