City Journal Spring 2014

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Chris Reed
Train in Vain « Back to Story

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To FLYR: Is Tudor Perinni a relative of
Tutor Perini?
The thing was a boondogle from the start. I'm happy to see that some people are starting to see the folly in the bullet train fantasy
If we American do not stop this out of control pathology called liberalism soon, it will surely complete the collapse of America.

Green Energy, Sustainability and Social Justice are nothing more than buzz words by the greedy to fuel the good time feelings of liberals who have no grasp of reality.

We need to elect people who have the maturity to understand that government spending can actually be spend and be beneficial.
@Lake Worth - you are certainly bright enough, and assuredly already sufficiently aware of, the points David makes below. I would be shocked if you do not agree with them. This project does not seem feasible, and the fact that the law passed is not being followed is almost certainly evidence of the same. Why is it that the narrative, rather than the facts, govern and control your inputs? This project has never appeared viable from the get go. And the fact that it makes certain groups look "bad', i.e., unions and legislators and the Government, well, no group is immune from criticism, especially with a project like this. Data and facts matter, and a non-nuanced narrative doesn't help.
@ Lake Worth: "And since Japan and France have had bullet trains for decades, it couldn't possibly work here". The question is not whether it "could work" here. The question is, instead, whether its proponents in state government are able to demonstrate that they have complied with the law, as they themselves wrote it, in order to make the project work. Apparently, they have not and cannot (or at least a judge has so ruled). Is high-speed rail in itself a stupid idea? No. But should the cost overruns and inability to attract private finance be shouldered by the average taxpayer who probably never really had a say in the project in the first place. Absolutely not. Yes, all public infrastructure investment demands sacrifices by the taxpaying public. And so long as the project is feasible and creates benefits other than merely lining the contractors' (and politicians') pockets with tax money, then the project deserves consideration. However, it sounds like California's bullet train is simply not such a project. Whether this is the fault of those who boosted it (and lied about it) at the start, or whether it's the fault of the company responsible for building it, or whether blame lies with some combination of these groups, the plain, hard truth is that this project has become an economic and political farce. Even you, with your reflexive liberal ideas, should be able to see this and to feel some amount of empathy for the taxpayers who are being asked to foot the bill. But perhaps not.
From the Wikipedia article on Japanese high speed rail: "The vast construction costs of the Shinkansen network, particularly the later, less profitable lines often driven more by political considerations than actual demand, imposed vast debt servicing costs on Japanese National Railways that, by 1971, made JNR unprofitable even before depreciation. JNR's Shinkansen-fueled debt eventually ballooned to 28 trillion yen and was an instrumental factor in the company's privatization and breakup. The privatized JR's eventually paid a total of 9.2 trillion yen to acquire JNR's Shinkansen network." If California's high speed rail follows the pattern of the Japanese, then the taxpayers will get soaked and the railway will end up in the hands of private interests who buy it for no more than it is actually worth.
We know that public infrastructure investment -- like public schools, public support for vaccines, public safety efforts not tied to incarceration, public parks, and public insurance reform (aka Obamacare) -- cause pain in some quarters.

So sorry. And since Japan and France have had bullet trains for decades, it couldn't possibly work here.
Of all the nonssensical things to come out of Washington, the bullet train was definitely tops - no one should have taken it seriously - I doubt even Obama thought it would ever go forward. Califonia's decision to proceed shows just how far the state has gone blue, with the attendent consequences of poor government, and corruption.

The bullet train is a boonn doggle in the making, should it go forward, it will be a textbook case of same. It is a sad story too - the people who built California's infrastructure did a brilliant job, which is now being undone by Democrats, who are simply incapable fo governing. If the bullet train goes forward, it will go something like this: cost overruns, corruption, delays, short period of operation, followed by abandonment.

Here's an idea - why not save everyone the time and trouble, and simply use the money to dig holes and then fill them in again? It would be as worthwhile as the bullet train fiasco.
It's 787 MILLION not billion that was provided by
the so-called "stimulus" plan, right?
robert straschewski August 29, 2013 at 4:48 AM
My prediction - in typical California fashion it will start late, immediately go over budget, then stall for years when they find that the route passes through some obscure creature's habitat, say the Planarian Flatworm or the Three Spined Stickleback.
Hey, just check out certain localities within Chicago, they have bullet trains almost every day!
Mary Tracy:

Can you even put together a complete and thoughtful sentence with proper punctuation, and without calling people names?

More proof of how our tax dollars are being wasted on the public schools...
The only thing you can get our right-wing Teabaggers enthused.
about is blowing off 2 Trillion on Bush's military.
adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just more evidence that.
Teabaggers support militarism and worship the military.

The fact that the rail authority selected Tudor Perrini as the contractor should be enough to convince any reasonable person that this is a plan for disaster. Tudor has left a string of overbudget infrastructure projects from LA to SF , my recollection is that the average is 40% over budget . Their standard mo is to under budget and then demand massive change orders before the project even begins, claiming that the evolution of the drawings justifies claims. Their political muscle all the way to our Senator's offices keeps pesky whistleblowers at bay.

The authority tech team rated Tudor as unqualified for the job but then their political muscle went to work and the rules were changed so that they were the winning bidder .

Someone should ask Brown and the legislature if they are willing to have the Tudor change orders deducted from their pension benefits. The only alternative is that they will come from our pockets
At this point, why even bother to speak of laws constraining the administration?

Laws that simply fly in the face of reality, such as demands that refiners purchase non-existent cellulose-derived ethanol, are enforced to the letter. Laws inconvenient to its friends? The administration is just too busy to get around to enforcing those.
Ventura Capitalist August 28, 2013 at 4:49 PM
My question is, how did these criminals let all those very detailed requirements get written into 1A in the first place? Of course for money-grubbing Democrats the law is just a starting point for chiseling and fraud, but still...

In any event, I hope they get it running soon and get all those cars (including mine) off the freeways! I figure I should be able to make the trip from Culver City to Westwood in about 3 1/2 seconds, though I'm not exactly sure how to get on and off the darn thing at 200 mph.