For most states in these times, the biggest problem is finding the money to spend on essential services. But in California, the state can’t even spend money once it finds it.The Wall Street Journal reports that, despite the $700 million dollars allocated by Sacramento to upgrade mass transit systems in the Bay Area, people probably won’t see any improvements for ten years. While Bay Area citizens wait, red tape, NIMBY lawsuits, and bureaucratic wranglers will chew the upgrade plans to bits:
But even under the rosiest of projections, commuters won’t see the benefits until the end of the decade. BART’s new cars are unlikely to be “service ready” until 2017, and passengers won’t be able to ride the Central Subway or Caltrain’s electrified trains until 2019, according to the transit agencies. […]Gary Patton, a Santa Cruz-based lawyer representing the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, a group of private citizens in Bay Area cities who oppose the rail project, says the coalition has also been closely watching Caltrain’s plans to use Prop 1A funds for electrification. “We’re going to do everything we can to stop that,” says Mr. Patton.What lawsuits don’t slow down, government red tape might. At Caltrain, construction depends on getting environmental clearance, a long and unpredictable process. “It’ll be at least a year before it [a construction contract for Caltrain electrification] goes to bid,” says Seamus Murphy, Caltrain’s director of government and community affairs.
Every infrastructure project in California turns into its own Jarndyce v Jarndyce. In a state where nothing is ever shovel-ready, infrastructure Keynesianism is dead.