Read More »"/> Read More »"/>
As we noted in January, costs for Jerry Brown’s vaunted high-speed rail project jumped by $2.8 billion to $10.6 billion, just for the stretch from Madera to Bakersfield. “It’s horrifying when you look at the amount of money we’re going to have to reinvest to make this program work,” exclaimed bullet-train board member Ernest Camacho. For their part, taxpayers now have more reason to be horrified.
As Breitbart News reports, “the ‘Base Case’ estimated cost to build California’s bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles has doubled to $77.3 billion, and could almost triple to $98.1 billion.” These figures come from official estimates, with per-mile estimates ranging from $155 million to $196 million. As the piece recalls, politicians sold the project as the 2008 Proposition 1A, promising “a bullet train for $37 billion that would whisk 120,000 riders per day in 2 hours and 40 minutes from L.A.’s Union Station to San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal for a fare of just $55.” In reality, the project would be slower and more expensive than air travel. As we have noted in many posts, right from the start this train was all about spending.
California High-Speed Rail has established a Sacramento headquarters and three regional offices. So the Authority works well as a comfy sinecure for ruling-class retreads like board member Lynn Schenk, a former congresswoman and chief of staff for governor Gray Davis. High-Speed rail has also been handing out no-bid contracts, one for $3 million, part of a similar noncompetitive pattern in state government. The day of the $2.8 billion hike, High-Speed Rail announced the hiring of new CEO Brian Kelley, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, at a salary of “nearly $385,000.” So with total costs now nearly $100 billion, and completion of the project increasingly unlikely, bureaucrats and politicians are still all aboard.