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Sunday, November 27, 2011

While High Speed Rail advocates met in NYC re Northeast Corridor, more troubling financial data re proposed LA-SF Bullet Train emerged -boondoggle?

USHSR's 2011 Conference in New York City

Even while High Speed Rail advocates met in New York recently to discuss their hopes and dreams for the service in the Northeast Corridor, Adam Nagourney of the N.Y. Times has just revealed even more troubling financial details about the possible coming boondoggle with California's San Francisco-to-Anaheim Bullet Train, which I suspect most of the country outside of Cali is still largely ignorant of, despite its eventual ripple effects across the country, good and bad.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the California High Speed Rail Authority still plans to begin construction in September!

Train Wars Teaser - High Speed Rail in California


California High Speed Rail video

I've been reading about all its myriad controversies for months in the L.A. Times, and all things considered, their coverage has been pretty spot-on, and NOT nearly as sycophantic as certain Florida newspapers and pols I could name who were supportive of a supposed Bullet Train between Orlando and the Tampa Bay area, which Gov. Rick Scott was rightly opposed to.

Though I'm a strong pro-transit advocate, given my dozen of blog posts here on the subject of transportation over the years, especially the desirability of a commuter line on the F.E.C. tracks near U.S.-1, from downtown Miami to Palm Beach County, thru the most-densely populated parts of South Florida, I was always against that particular line in Central Florida.
It made no sense and couldn't possibly be successful because the distance was too short given the driving alternative.

See Jacksonville Transit blog's well-reasoned post of June 12th about why HSR failed the smell test in Florida: GOOD REASONS TO KILL FLORIDA HIGH SPEED RAIL

I've always suspected -and said on other transit blogs- that the line that would likely get the Obama money to proceed would likely be one between Chicago and St. Louis.

How's this for the beginning of a very expensive trip?
"The pro-train constituency has not been derailed by a state report this month that found the cost of the bullet train tripling to $98 billion for a project that would not be finished until 2033..."
New York Times
California Bullet Train Project Advances Amid Cries of Boondoggle
By Adam Nagourney
November 26, 201
SACRAMENTO — Across the country, the era of ambitious public works projects seems to be over. Governments are shelving or rejecting plans for highways, railroads and big buildings under the weight of collapsing revenues and voters’ resistance.

Read the rest of the article at:

The Nagourney article follows by a few days an excellent, eye-opening story by Ralph
Vartabedian in the LAT that delves into the social and cultural problems associated with constructing the line thru several parts of Cali that are firmly opposed to it and have the financial means and the will to push back hard, namely, the Central Valley agriculture belt.
The folks who grew and cultivated many of the items in your kitchen right now.

Los Angeles Times
California bullet train: The high price of speed
Its proposed route would destroy churches, schools, homes, warehouses, banks, medical offices, stores and much more.
By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
October 22, 2011, 6:03 p.m.

Reporting from Bakersfield— Since it opened in 1893, Bakersfield High School has been the pride of this city and its academic cornerstone, the place where the late Chief Justice Earl Warren graduated and students call themselves the Drillers in homage to the region's oil patch.

It has withstood earthquakes and depressions, but perhaps it will not survive the California bullet train.
Read the rest of the article at:


Los Angeles Times
LA NOW blog
Cost projection for California bullet train jumps to nearly $100 billion
By Ralph Vartabedian
October 31, 2011 10:06 pm
California's bullet train will cost an estimated $98.5 billion to build over the next 20 years, an amount far higher than any previous projection, according to a business plan scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday.


Los Angeles Times
Opinion LA blog
California's bullet train: Boondoggle or boon?
By Dan Turner
November 3, 2011 3:35 pm
Californians seem to fall into two camps when it comes to the state's multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project, with those on one side (typically fiscal conservatives) seeing it as a massive waste of taxpayer money while those on the other (typically liberals) think it's a visionary, environmentally responsible solution to our state's transportation problems.
Read the rest of the post at:

Read the readers response to that post at:


The most recent financial news predicate for much of this debate can be read here:
Congress About to Kill High-Speed Train Program
By JOAN LOWY Associated Press
WASHINGTON November 17, 2011 (AP)

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California High Speed Rail Authority: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

California High Speed Rail's YouTube Channel:

USHSR's YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/USHSR


HighSpeedRailDoc's YouTube Channel:


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