We are doomed

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 5, 2010

Via Reason magazine’s “hit & run” blog comes yet more evidence that California politicians must expect to be getting a bailout from the feds.

California's high speed rail project could be shaping up as the awesomest catastrogeddon of 2011.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is committed to breaking ground on a leg of the train that will serve passengers between the unincorporated town of Borden and the half-incarcerated town of Corcoran.

Whether you call it the train from nowhere or the train to nowhere, nobody will be riding it even when it’s done. That’s not libertarian cant: The actual plan for the $4.15 billion leg is that upon completion it will sit idle until other sections of track are completed.

This initial segment runs from Corcoran – where a good portion of the population is imprisoned and unlikely to use the train – to Borden. Total combined population of both cities towns? 25,000.

Why do it? It’s all about the benjamins.

The CHSRA needs to break ground by September 2012 or lose $2.25 billion in federal funds. The U.S. Department of Transportation has for reasons of its own favored the sparsely populated Central Valley for this first leg of the thinly imagined high speed rail project. Although Golden State Democrats would prefer to start off by connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles or L.A. to Anaheim, they have generally accepted the humiliation rather than lose the funding and miss another start for the nearly 15-year-old project.

So, the state’s going to spend $4 billion it doesn’t have in order to get $2.25 billion from the feds that the feds don’t have.

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