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Blue Boondoggles
Paying for Silicon Valley’s Transit Upgrade
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  • Brian

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-federal-rail-grant-conflict-20170209-story.html

    “A top Obama administration executive at the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $647-million grant for a California rail project in mid-January and less than two weeks later went to work for a Los Angeles-based contractor involved in the project…The grant provides a significant part of the money required to install a $2-billion electrical power system….The power equipment will eventually be used by the state’s bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, making it a critical part of the $64-billion program. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has pledged about $713 million to help install the system, according to state records.

    The grant was handled by Carolyn Flowers, the acting chief of the Federal Transit Administration. Flowers announced the grant approval in a letter, dated Jan. 18, to congressional leaders. The Times obtained a copy of the letter.”

    • Andrew Allison

      Seems like a good enough to cancel the grant and sue the contractor for bribery. Hillary’s 3.4 million majority in CA might be another.

      • Jim__L

        I wouldn’t get too worked up about that 3.4 million — there were a lot of anti-Hillary types who stayed home on election day.

  • Proud Skeptic

    I agree. It all sounds like normal maintenance of an existing rail line. This should specifically be a state responsibility.

    • Andrew Allison

      Not only that, but the $2 billion price tag is ridiculous on its face!

      • Proud Skeptic

        The citizens of California may have my sympathies, but not my money.

        • Fat_Man

          They don’t deserve your sympathy. Their troubles are entirely of their own making.

  • Proud Skeptic

    Oh…and one more thing…Why would ANYONE ever use the term “shovel ready” ever again? It didn’t really work out for the first guy who started throwing it around.

  • Jim__L

    “Unfortunately, as federal funds enter the mix”…

    … The Federal Government has a nasty habit of making whatever little rules it likes, then forcing states to follow them if it doesn’t want the funds cut.

    In the interests of Federalism, partially, conditionally, or unfunded Federal mandates should be banned.

    • f1b0nacc1

      This would require a constitutional amendment to work (the SCOTUS would likely undercut just about any other method, sadly enough), but though I am normally reluctant to endorse such things, this would be a good one.

  • Fat_Man

    A note to Jerry Brown and Diane Feinstein: If you want to get along, you got to go along, and vice versa. If you wan to lead the Resistance to Trump, don’t count on getting checks from his administration.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Ah, but they both expect to have their cake and eat it too….though I suppose in Brown’s case at least it will be gluten-free cake

    • Jim__L

      Note to Jerry Brown and Diane Feinstein — recent rains in California have left the roads so full of potholes that the best thing to do would be put Fresno Area Rapid Transit (aka “high-speed” rail) on hold and refocus the money on roads.

  • CaliforniaStark

    Mass transit in the Bay Area has its perils: A quote from the SFGate blog site:

    “A recent string of robberies on BART trains took a frightening turn when dozens of juveniles swarmed an Oakland station over the weekend and commandeered a train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries, witnesses told the transit agency.

    The incident — the first of its kind in recent memory — occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Coliseum Station.

    According to a police officials, witnesses said 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

    The juveniles “committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones,” said a police summary prepared after the incident. “At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.”

    Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, said Monday that seven robberies had occurred — with victims losing a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform, she said.
    The attack was quick, police reported, and the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train that was hit was held for about 15 minutes as authorities investigated the crime and tended to the injured.”

  • Angel Martin

    “But little by little we have allowed ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking that the federal honeypot should be subsidizing local transit everywhere.

    Of course, once we’ve reached that stage, the logical move is for all politicians to fight for their place at the trough. And from the standpoint of voters, it makes sense too: if you are already shelling out for everyone else’s transport needs, you might as well get something for yourself.”

    If 535 people share a credit card and then vote on how the bill is shared, everyone has the incentive to spend as much as they can before the card is maxed out and cancelled.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Since this area’s private sector will most likely be getting a LOT of new high-end money from high-end federal tax cuts, there is no need for the government to pay Tech Heaven twice.

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