Friday, January 16, 2015

High-speed rail news

By Lisa Benson

[Later: The dumb project's growing opposition in Southern California.]

Before meaningful and continuous construction[of high-speed rail] can actually start, here are some obstacles that will have to be overcome:

The Authority needs to have the money to finance that continuous construction. The estimated cost of the project is $68 billion (and this is truly an underestimate). The Authority has a little over $6 billion, best-case scenario.

Currently available federal funding is on the order of $3.3 billion. That's part of the $6 billion figure just mentioned. Further federal funding for the project is not going to be available for years, if ever...

Furthermore, the $3.3 billion in federal funding is supposed to be expended by September 2017, and it is unlikely the Authority can spend those funds fast enough to utilize the total $3.3 in federal funding by the 2017 deadline.

Every dollar of currently available federal funding must be matched, dollar for dollar, by state funding. So far, NO state bond funding is available for construction, and the Governor's proposed use of so-called Cap and Trade funds would not provide enough revenue to be considered an adequate source for the match.

Not only is Cap and Trade funding not sufficient to provide a $3.3 billion match for the federal government, the use of Cap and Trade funding for the High-Speed Rail project is legally improper, and a lawsuit has already been filed to prevent that improper expenditure.

Because the project, as currently planned, does not comply with the requirements of Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Bond Act, it is quite possible that no bond funding will ever be available to match federal dollars or to construct the project. A trial on the key issues related to the availability of Proposition 1A funding will take place this spring.

On a non-money issue, the Authority is seriously behind schedule in its eminent domain acquisitions, so the Authority won't actually have access to the land that would allow "continuous construction" to begin. 

Also on a non-money issue, and perhaps even more important, the Authority's own engineers have revealed that there is no way that the chosen route for the Initial Operating Segment from the Central Valley into Los Angeles can be physically negotiated by high speed trains. Either the grade will be dangerously steep to go down the mountain or it will be extremely expensive to go through the mountain in a tunnel. In either case, the current route will have to be redesigned and possibly relocated. That will take time not mentioned and money not available...

There was lots of fanfare and lots of hoopla last Tuesday in Fresno. Does this mean that the High-Speed Rail project is going to happen? In one word, "No!"
Rob's comment:
According to the Hoover Golden State Poll, public support for the project is plummeting: only 16% of those polled think the high-speed rail project should be a state priority.

Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV



At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Toastie said...

The only reason HSR continues to increase in cost is because ignorant swine like you continue to mess with it and file lawsuits and other garbage. This is (by far) the most important infrastructure in the United States right now and we're not going to let the goon squad mess it up. Pay up Rob.

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

No, the increase in the price tag for the dumb project started right after the 2008 election. All that litigation hasn't delayed it at all, though it may eventually put a stop to this folly. Everything about this project is questionable, especially finding the money to even begin building it.

If this project is so important, why didn't President Obama include it the other night in his laundry list of worthy causes? No mention at all.

If I'm supposedly "ignorant," why don't you direct me to a source of enlightenment on the issue? You, on the other hand, can begin your education on the project here and here.


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