In fairy tale lore, the story is told of a troll who lived under a bridge and tried to make a meal ticket out of anyone who wanted to cross it.
California has greatly improved on this scam by first making a meal ticket out of the taxpayers who are forced to pay for the construction of the bridge, and then by endlessly spending money on it even though the bridge doesn’t actually go anywhere. For example, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal calls for another $4.2 billion to finish a 119-mile segment of the California high-speed rail project in the Central Valley.
Voters approved almost $10 billion in bonds back in 2008 to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles and were promised that it would be built without a tax increase and operated without a public subsidy. The rail authority was supposed to acquire all the needed land parcels ahead of the start of construction, and the finished rail line was supposed to whisk passengers between the Bay Area and L.A. in less than three hours. The cost of the project was estimated at $33 billion.
Talk about a fairy tale.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority seems to have given up trying to persuade anyone that the purpose of the project is transportation. Its latest press release describes the bullet train as “35 active job sites and more than 7,000 construction jobs created to date.” Nobody’s going anywhere on the train anytime soon, unless you count the vacation travel of the consultants…