Tuesday, April 05, 2011

California's high speed rail boondoggle just got more boondoggle-y

I shook my head with amazed disgust back in 2008 when the voters of California approved a $10 billion dollar bond measure that would fund the construction of a high-speed rail system in our late, great state. Keep in mind that this $10 billion dollars was really nothing more than a down payment. Once construction was approved, then the real costs would start to pile up.

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis and the Reason Foundation, the projected cost for the San Francisco to Los Angeles line has already risen from $33B to $43B, with the $7B spur to Sacramento most likely not even being built now. An S.F-L.A ticket that was formerly estimated to be $55 is now projected to cost $105.

And my favorite statistic: The California High-Speed Rail Authority estimates that ridership would be as high as 117 million passengers a year. To put this overblown number into perspective, the Amtrak line that serves the corridor connecting Boston-New York-Washington D.C. serves just 3 million passengers a year, and the entire Amtrak system around the entire country serves just 27 million.

That's OK, though. California is in great financial shape. We can afford these losses. /sarc

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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