Monday, March 25, 2019

Robbie Hunter sings for his supper---again

Don’t leave California’s climate goals stuck in traffic
Robbie Hunter writes in support of the dumb high-speed rail project every year. Why does he do it? 

He wants readers to think he supports the project on its merits.

But here's a clue: Robbie Hunter is president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, representing 450,000 California construction workers and apprentices.

That is, it's all about jobs for his workers, not to mention his own. Hunter provides the same distortion of local history often used by the project's supporters:

Completing the high-speed rail isn’t going to be without real opposition. Before the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Area Rapid Transit were constructed, there was loud opposition and a multitude of legal challenges including from most of the surrounding cities. Same complaints: different decades. It’s as if the opponents’ complaints of high cost and lack of need are on a historical sound loop...

BART had a funding plan from the start: taxes to be paid by the counties the system would run through; the Golden Gate Bridge was built by issuing construction bonds, which were serviced with bridge tolls until they were paid off in 1971.

California's high-speed rail project has never had a comparable plan to pay for its construction, which is a big problem on a project that was sold to the public by deliberately understating its cost and exaggerating its benefits.

Hunter recently told the Los Angeles Times that we really need that train:

Robbie Hunter, president of the state building and construction trades council, said the current 1,500 construction workers on the job in the Central Valley are not the main reason for his support. "Our airports are crowded and the freeways are jammed, so we need this third mode of fast and clean transportation that people can afford," Hunter, an iron worker, said. "The alternative will not be cheap either." Nobody, he added, can blame the hard hats for the problems...

We can blame hard hat leadership for their self-interested support for a ruinously expensive project that cannot be completed, wasting billions of tax dollars that could have been spent on transportation projects that are practical and realistically funded.

See this site for the best analysis of the high-speed rail project.

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