3/10/16 Train Wreck

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The 2016 business plan for California’s bullet train was just released. It’s full of great news and claims of progress over the 2014 plan.

Unfortunately, the California High-Speed Rail Authority presents a rosy picture that’s contradicted by real-world factors.

The overall cost is officially pegged at 64 billion dollars.  Many believe the actual price tag will be around 100 billion.  Regardless of the cost, the big question is: who’ll pay for it?

California voters approved 8 billion dollars for the project.  The feds kicked-in another eight billion.  The state’s cap-and-trade tax on power plants is supposed to help fund the project.  But that’s been averaging less than 400 million dollars a year.  And it ends in four years.

Where will the remaining 80 some-odd billion come from?  No one knows.  California currently has a more than 100 billion dollar state pension shortfall it needs to fix.

The promise is to build a train that runs between San Francisco and L.A. in two hours and 40 minutes.  It would be the fastest train on the planet.

Ground-breaking was started in the middle California’s Central Valley.  Construction near major cities has been put-off.  This is due to countless lawsuits [here, here] and engineering obstacles such as tunneling through 36 miles of mountains near L.A.

It’s anyone’s guess how and when this will be finished.  If ever.

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