Tuesday, November 26, 2013

High-speed rail: Massive prog intellectual failure

Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny

Today's headline in the Chronicle about Judge Kenny's decisions against the high-speed rail boondoggle (Bullet train's future in peril) is no surprise to readers of this blog. Almost three years ago I wrote:

The high-speed rail fiasco is part of the anti-car movement, the assumption being that if it isn't a car it must be good! The folks over at Streetsblog support HSR. Like all good progressives, the Bicycle Coalition supported high-speed rail in 2008. High-speed rail is just more evidence showing that progressives are dumb and not doing any homework on another important issue.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones is one of the few progressives in the country that understands how bad this project has always been.

Martin Engel was important early on in informing people about this looming fiasco, as was Mark Powell.

Randal O'Toole gets it. Spur doesn't. Neither does Mayor Lee, the Bay Guardian (Steve Jones, Tim Redmond) the Chronicle, Willie Brown, Governor Brown, the Examiner, Scott Wiener, the SFCTA (Where does this leave the Transbay Terminal project?), and Streetsblog. Just a massive intellectual failure by all concerned. Must have been a big dog that ate all that homework!

Gavin Newsom gets it. Debra Saunders is the only local journalist who gets it, rightly calling the project the Democrats' version of the Bridge to Nowhere.

The folks at the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail have been trying to warn the public for years by providing the best in-depth analysis of the project's many shortcomings.

Thanks to Kathy Hamilton for links to Judge Kenny's decisions here and here.

An early post on the intellectual failure of the city's left.

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At 3:11 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

I've always been torn - I like the idea, and am okay with public transit, when smartly implemented (i.e. works for the majority of ALL people), taking precedent over the private vehicle, but as the "what ifs" and modifications roll in, you end up with something completely different. And that is completely ignoring the corruption of the gov't and the non-accountability of the contractors. People ought to go to jail for being more than 10% over the original bid. Since those safeguards aren't in place, and we're all reeling from the new Bay Bridge boondoggle, how can anyone with an ounce of fiscal sense be for this project? I supported it wholeheartedly in the concept phase, but it's been twisted and perverted enough now that I have a really tough time supporting it anymore.

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tens of thousands of people die every ear while driving on streets and highway. How do you propose we end that and why do you think Most other developed countries have extensive rail use?

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you fucking kidding me Rob? Do you think we're going to be driving cars around our country forever?

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is your special interest lobbying going Rob? Have you been able to squash the cities plans to make cyclist die less often?

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people voted for it--what part of that do you not understand?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

California voters passed the high-speed rail proposition in 2008 with only 52% of the vote.

But public opinion now opposes the project. See a 2011 poll, a 2012 poll, and a 2013 poll.

At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is because younger people don't vote as much as older people - and the people who will really benefit from HSR aren't old enough to vote.

It's flat out selfish not to build this legacy for the next generation.


At 12:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Your link isn't about California's high-speed rail project, though the author links an earlier article that advocates high-speed rail. He wants to invest $2 trillion in rail systems!

This is pure fantasy. That writer doesn't seem to understand how crippling to the economy that would be. Just the interest on the $9 billion state voters authorized in 2008 would be $650 million a year!

This website goes into the high-speed rail project in great detail, especially the money issue.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That writer doesn't seem to understand how crippling to the economy that would be. Just the interest on the $9 billion state voters authorized in 2008 would be $650 million a year!

Funny money. Borrow cheap, then print wheelbarrows full of money to pay the Chinese and the 1% back. We can either keep begging at their feet or build a train with their money.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

$650 million is not exactly "funny money," and that would only be an annual interest payment on the $9 billion bonds authorized by Prop. 1A in 2008. It's not really "their" money we're talking about; it's state taxpayers' money.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah seriously the government shouldn't spend money subsidizing this stuff!


At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rob you know what's crazy and you should fight against--the taxpayers subsidize $100+ billion in highway spending each year!


Crazy, right? Or do you have some slick explanation for this?


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