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Rail Fail
California Goes Full Boondoggle on Train Project
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  • johngbarker

    California may not need it but neighboring states will benefit from the exodus of people and capital. Roll on thou mighty train, roll on!

    • CountMontyC

      The main problem with that exodus is that most are liberals who then bring their liberal ideas with them to their new state. Oregon used to be able to occasionally elect Republicans to statewide offices until we became inundated with liberal Californians

  • Fat_Man

    “a last-ditch effort to project 20th-century ideas about transportatio”

    Too recent. More like 19th Century.

  • Luke Phillips

    Yup. Though as a college student I think it sure would be nice if there were a better transit system in LA.

    • comatus

      You, and the founder of Stanford. How about that.

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is no such thing as a giant public works project that does not create great opportunities for Republican business people. Whether California needs a train or not—-I don’t know. But we could apply the old Palinism (“you betcha”) to this question: Will conservatives be lining up to feed at this trough?

    • Andrew Allison

      You are aware I trust that Governor Moonbeam is a Democrat, that Democrats have been the majority party in the California state legislature for virtually all of the past four decades (which explains the fact that, if one considers the unfunded pension liabilities to government employees, the state is bankrupt) and that Unions are major proponents of this irresponsible boondoggle.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Don’t bother, he is on a roll…

        • FriendlyGoat

          You’re right. I always am. And all I am saying above is that, if money is “wasted” on a train, Republicans are going to get a bunch of it. They always do.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The quote is from Animal House, and if you look at bit more closely at the reference, you might get the point. Though since Bluto ended up as a Senator, perhaps the joke is more apt than I originally thought.
            As for the contention that the GOP will do their best to get a chunk of this wasted money, I don’t doubt that they will do their damndest to do so, nor would I suggest that they shouldn’t. If I knew that a million dollars in stolen money was going to be left in alley and that I could legally get (and keep) it, I would be a fool not to do so. This wouldn’t justify the theft, nor would it somehow enoble the act. The overwhelming majority of the spoils will go to Democratic sponsors and cronies (hardly a surprise, that is the only reason this is being done in the first place), but even so anyone with any chance to scoop up some of the loot will try to do so.
            With that said…so what? Are you really going to justify this nonsense on the basis that politicians of all stripes are greedy hypocrites? Are you really so bereft of principles that your sole defense of this boondoggle is ‘well, the other guys are getting a cut too’? Your argument is precisely why liberalism has fallen out of favor, for you reveal what lies at the heart of the Left, greed, hypocrisy, and a lust for power thinly disguised by a poor false front of empathy for the poor.
            Cronyism is wrong and evil, and wasting resources in a state already circling the bowl is if (it is even possible) worse than that. Your defense would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. I have tried to show you more respect than you show to those who don’t share your views here (and there are plenty here who have done so as well), but you are obviously unworthy of the effort.

          • FriendlyGoat

            What is the matter with you people? I am not recommending this train. I am merely pointing out that IF it is built, conservatives and Republicans are going to line up to profit from it—-in everything from construction to adjacent land speculation to concessions—–and they are.

          • Anthony

            FG, if I might: your presence more than your ideas/presentation appears to “bother” – you interfere with perceived equanimity (illusory superiority or anosognosia). But as Bupharic (who by the way was a long way from being irrational), you threaten notions, concepts, beliefs, points of view, predilections, etc. To that end and as we have discussed before, remember your “audience” – there has been psychological studies that tell us what we see and what we hear is shaped by our preferences, our wishes, our fears, our desires, etc. That is, we literally see the world the way we want to see it (Dunning-Kruger). At bottom, we’re not very good at “knowing what we don’t know” (illusory superiority). Put simply, people tend to do what they know and fail to do that which they have no conception of – in world of design and engineering its called known unknowns and unknown unknowns (which is where Rumsfeld may have gotten phrase). Stay steadfast as I am sure you will because your contribution matters.

          • Tom

            Bpuharic, unlike you, Anthony, was a cocksure fool.

          • Fred

            Unlike Anthony?

          • Anthony

            Tom, he certainly was persistent and occasionally over the top; but I think he (in his way) was attempting some redemption Tom ) I have no evidence just my hunch since its been years any postings (he may have passed). And thanks Tom.

          • Fred

            FG, if I might: your presence more than your ideas/presentation appears to “bother” – you interfere with perceived equanimity (illusory superiority or anosognosia).

            Balderdash. Wigwag often expresses positions and opinions that clash with those of the conservative commenters here, and those commenters who respond to him are quite civil for the most part. The conservatives periodically disagree among themselves. I, for example, am considerably less libertarian and less disposed to dismiss the arts and humanities than most other commenters here, yet we are capable of discussing issues without insulting, caricaturing, or demonizing our interlocutors or attacking straw man versions of their arguments. FG is either unable or (more likely) unwilling to do so.

            Bupharic [sic] (who by the way was a long way from being irrational)

            True, B wasn’t irrational. He was stupid. If you remember him differently, I suggest going back and re-reading his comments, especially about religion. They read like a textbook of logical fallacies. In addition to which, if he ever had an idea that didn’t originate in DNC talking points, it died of loneliness before making it into any of his comments. And in case you missed it, I explicitly defended FG against comparison to Bpuharic.

            there has [sic] been psychological studies that tell us what we see and what we hear is [sic] shaped by our preferences, our wishes, our fears, our desires, etc. That is, we literally see the world the way we want to see it (Dunning-Kruger). At bottom, we’re not very good at “knowing what we don’t know” (illusory superiority). Put simply, people tend to do what they know and fail to do that which they have no conception of – in world of design and engineering its called known unknowns and unknown unknowns (which is where Rumsfeld may have gotten phrase).

            You do realize that the above is either completely self-undermining (just one more product of the human incapability to see beyond what we want to see) or a classic instance of the “illusory superiority” you condemn (I, of course, am immune to such petty biases). Just out of curiosity, which is it?

          • Anthony

            See reply Oct. 23, 2014 (Update) – Market Research Firm You Gov..

          • Fred

            Care to provide a link?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks for consolation. There are lots of unknown unknowns, but it’s not like I am peddling myself as a faux rocket scientist here. It’s a legitimate consideration that conservatives OFTEN profit from the same government spending in “specific” ways that they complain about in “generalities”. This bunch of ideologues ought to know that and admit that.

            Someone is growing, processing and retailing (at a profit) all the food purchased by food stamps. There are tons of contractors for the F-35 who don’t mind it having cost over-runs that exceed Solyndra by a factor of maybe 100.
            There were real-estate speculators who wanted to develop land at the end of the famous “bridge to nowhere”. Plenty of these people are Republicans.

            Something this simple shouldn’t light up bunches of these guys, but I’m not fatally wounded by their indignation of anyone noticing there are many “sides” to conservatism.

          • Anthony

            My pleasure and I’m certain this standard fare could not wound your esprit. Meanwhile, conformism whether conscious or unconscious imbues people, groups, organizations, and web sites, The reality is that those who are perceived as “different” can (and often times do) make others…when calling values of the identified group, organization, etc. into question. As you know when people attach themselves to groups of any type, a kind of group/organizational mind-set inevitably sets in – unwritten standards of correctness and overseers to insure line toeing. But FG, you’ve lived life and ought not be expected to censure your rebellious nature. God speed.

          • Fred

            Gee, there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with FG’s approach to argumentation. And God knows, mere conservatives can’t possibly disagree with anyone on merits. If they disagree with you, it can only be from “conformism whether conscious or unconscious” not from any kind of good faith disagreement about facts, interpretation of facts, or implications of facts. No, we’re picking on you poor misunderstood geniuses because you’re “different.” What was that you were saying in your last comment about “illusory superiority?” I think you need to look in the mirror.

          • Anthony

            See reply of Oct. 23, 2014 – You Gov.

          • Fred

            Care to provide a link, again?

          • Anthony


          • Fred

            You are a piece of work. So you won’t provide a link or an explanation of “See reply of Oct. 23, 2014 – You Gov.” or even tell me what that means. My usually able assistant Mr. Google failed me on this one I’m afraid. So I will assume you actually have no response to anything I’ve said. And quite frankly, I don’t see what response you could possibly have.

          • Anthony

            See reply to Oct. 23, 2014 – 1 out of three people are internet…

      • FriendlyGoat

        I wish Governor Moonbeam was young enough to run for president.

        • Andrew Allison

          Why am I not surprised?

          • FriendlyGoat

            There is no reason for you to be surprised. Brown is one of the best Democrats in the country. But he is past the age for running nationally, and, at least, he does know that.

    • SClanding

      A proud GRUBER STUPID raises hand.
      Have some self-respect even if your progressive leadership has none for you…don’t be a STUPID.

      • FriendlyGoat

        What the heck are you talking about?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    California is typical blue model stupidity.

  • MartyH

    At best, the “bullet” train will be a compromised redundancy for travel between SF and LA. Slower than air, more expensive than driving. Probably slower than driving as well, since they seem to have ditched the “high speed” portion.

    If CA wanted to do an infrastructure project that was relevant to a 21st century problem, we’d be investing massively in desalinization plants. The environmental and economic damage caused by the state’s consistent lack of water is astounding. Large scale desalinization would create jobs, improve water flows in CA’s overburdened rivers, increase agricultural production, and drive technological innovation that could be exported worldwide. It sure beats spending tens of billions on a train that few will end up riding.

    • sv_homer

      Nah, at best the bullet train will allow the servant class to live in Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield while woking for the elite in Palo Alto and Santa Monica.

      If you assume the the governing theory for California is: “Seller’s market for real estate, Buyers market for servants”, it all makes sense.

  • Del_Varner

    Prediction: The train will not cover costs, expenses will rise dramatically (all those public union state railway employees). Maintenance will be deferred so the infrastructure–rolling stock and rails–will decay (how quickly depends on the quality of construction), and voila a tragic high speed derailment.

    • comatus

      With an ammunition train, in the Taggart Tunnel.

      • Dan

        + 1 “Kip” Chalmers

  • Proud Skeptic

    It is a dangerous thing to get so fixated on a project that you insist that it be built in spite of the negative facts on the ground. I’m sure there are “studies” saying what a boon this will be…there always are. But it certainly seems that the main purpose of building high speed rail is….”to have a high speed rail”. Not only will the people of California have the construction bill to pay but they will no doubt be paying ongoing ticket subsidies forever.

    But, I guess a positive to this is that someone will finally actually build one of these things and we can see if the economic model works. Californians spending their own money on a venture that may or may not work out. Nothing wrong with that. I would naturally prefer that we keep Federal money out of it…luckily, $3.2 billion is a relatively small amount by today’s standards. Hope it doesn’t get bigger.

    Ten years from now, if this train is constantly full and making money and everyone else is clamoring to be the next one to build one of these, I will freely eat my words.

    Feeling pretty safe about that one, though.

    • Rich K

      Ten years fro now they will still be fighting the Snail Darter contingency of the Sierra Club, not riding the rails.

      • Proud Skeptic

        You are probably right. What goes around comes around.
        There is balance in the universe, after all.

  • mikekelley10

    California will apply the same expertise to this boondoggle that it did to the Bay Bridge project. These guys are good at this stuff:

    –SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF)— The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has had its share of recent woes since the controversy over the flawed bolts discovered during the final stages of construction, with the most recent being the discovery of rusting in critical areas.

    We’ve compiled a list of our coverage going back to December of some of the bridge’s biggest issues.

    Report: New Bay Bridge Is Rusting In Critical Areas
    Caltrans Criticized Over Handling Of Bay Bridge’s Emergency Repairs
    Emergency Pothole Repairs Cause Gridlock On Bay Bridge
    Caltrans Hopes Rain Will Help Them Solve Leak Issues On Bay Bridge
    Caltrans Officials Claim New Bay Bridge ‘Misalignments’ Are No Cause For Concern
    State Senate Holds Hearing Over Bay Bridge Construction Flaws
    State Senate Report: Caltrans Allowed Bad Welds On New Bay Bridge
    Millions To Be Spent Monitoring Bolts On New Bay Bridge

    • Rich K

      Ya baby, that’s exactly the kind of quality maintenance you will get from Caltrans. The wreck in Atlas Shrugged will be a minor booboo compared to what will most likely happen on dark rainy evening in Fresno.

  • bittman

    The CA Progressives have made up their minds. They are going ahead with that train project irrespective of its ultimate viability — once it’s built, the CA Progressives will figure out a way to FORCE citizens use it. They will tax the people who don’t use it (like with Obamacare) and tax the people who do use it (again like with Obamacare).

  • mikekelley10

    This project will be wonderful. We get to see two major factions of the left fight it out. On the one side are the neo-Luddite Sierra Club types who don’t want anything built anywhere. They will fight to stop this monstrosity because they fight all big industrial projects. On the other side you have the urban Progressives who despise cars and highways because they give too much freedom to the masses. This group loves mass transit because it is so much more regimented and forces the great unwashed to conform to their ideology. I hope this fight gets very bloody.

    • Rick Caird

      My only complaint is that they are putting federal tax dollars into the project. If California wants to hasten its bankruptcy and drove more of its productive citizens out, well, that is their business. In fact, the sooner it happens, the sooner it will be a lesson to other blue states like Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and, of course, Illinois. Maybe such a bankruptcy might even influence the Feds as long as they don’t try to bailout California.

      • mikekelley10

        I agree, Rick. I have long hoped that California failure would help wake people up, but lefty media covers it up so well that a lot of people think they’re doing fine. I guess we’ll see on this.

  • mikekelley10

    One of my favorite blue state construction fiascos is this one:

    –SEATTLE – There are more problems for the Highway 99 tunnel project beneath downtown Seattle, as engineers study whether settling soil means work should be altered on a pit being dug to reach a stalled digging machine known as Bertha.

    Tests over the weekend showed the settling around the pit is uneven, the Department of Transportation said.

    The settling near the pit is apparently the result of groundwater pumped out by Seattle Tunnel Partners as it digs a 120-foot access pit to reach and replace the damaged head of the boring machine.

    Bertha overheated and stopped a year ago. It has drilled about 10 percent of the way into a planned 2-mile tunnel to replace the viaduct.

    State engineers are analyzing the settling data to make sure the pit, viaduct and nearby buildings are secure. On Sunday, the state said pumping necessary to reduce water pressure on the pit would be stopped. However on Monday, Laura Newborn, spokeswoman for the viaduct replacement project, said the dewatering was continuing.

    Seattle Tunnel Partners had told the state it planned to resume tunneling in April on the $2 billion project. It’s already about a year behind schedule. The opening was previously scheduled for December 2015.–

    • Rich K

      Just no end to Blue State Blues.They just never learn.

      • mikekelley10

        They just keep doing the dumbest stuff…

  • George Purcell

    I flat out do not believe it is possible for the line, at least the full line, to be constructed. There is no way that they can get those spurs into downtown SF and LA built in California’s regulatory regime. Untold billions will be spent trying, however.
    I do think that there is a HSR project that has a very good potential to be built and operational fairly soon however–there is a serious proposal for an honest-to-God Shinkansen between Dallas and Houston that is going to EIS this year.

  • markbuehner

    For reference, the entire Interstate Highway System cost less than $500 billion (in todays dollars) and includes 50,000 miles of road, 55,000 bridges, and 82 tunnels.

  • TheOldMan

    SWA flies me from SJC to SAN in one hour for about $80. Add an hour spent in the airport to each side. I don’t see the problem that this HSR system is proposing to fix.

  • Rich K

    Amazing how 19th century technology look so appealing to all the Luddites in the Enviro world. Why not go whole hog and bring back horses crapping in the streets towing the streetcars. I’m talking to you Portland Oregon,,,Idiots..

  • teapartydoc

    Cali is taking the fast train to Hell.

  • WalterHorsting

    Three technologies should be used instead of rail: MagLev, Hyperloop or SkyTran. That being said using a more direct route like the TGV recommend using the I-5 right of way made the only sense. I would instead suggest fastest cheapest Commuter rail for all of the transit corridors San Diego to LA, Sacramento to SF to San Jose,

    • werewife

      If you really want to expand a public transit system quickly, efficiently, and relatively inexpensively, BUY MORE BUSES. The roads are already in place. But that way you only please the bus drivers’ union, and the real estate developers not at all. So it happens not. We’ve become so predictable.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Ah, but busses can go anywhere that there are roads, no way to create sweetheart deal with well-placed landowners, or massive construction contracts with inflated union rates. The Left HATES roads, they let people move as they wish, not as their betters tell them that they should….

  • megapotamus

    Greenies are idiots across the board. Drag them from their beds by their eyeholes and gut them like fish. Every one. Forward.

  • lfstevens

    Not to mention that Hyperloop obsoletes the whole thing.

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