Neither the OC Register or the LA Times could even work up a headline today announcing the next delay for Governor Brown’s favorite boondoggle, the California High Speed Rail project.
Per the San Jose Mercury News lead: All year, the state billed the summer of 2013 as the season when California’s biggest-ever public works project — a $69 billion high-speed rail line — would finally leave the station with a groundbreaking that has been decades in the making.
We’d also note that the $69 billion cost estimate is wildly understated — Reason Foundation and others have costed the project between $100 and $200 billion. The $69 billion number is also unchanged after a few local HSR supporters like Big Lucy Dunn at the OC Business Council blubbered and whined at the Authority that Anaheim was left off the last iteration of the Browndoggle’s design to falsely portray its cost at less than $100 billion, so apparently its extension from LA Union Station to the ARTIC glass barn now under construction in Anaheim will be free.
Also from the Mercury News story, it’s good to know someone’s property wasn’t demolished this week:
“We could be out there this week if we wanted to just knock down one building,” said rail authority CEO Jeff Morales. But “that doesn’t make economic sense.” Still, critics say Californians won’t see hammer-wielding workers in the field unless the state wins two civil cases — one to be heard next week, the other in November. “The future of this plan is in doubt,” said former longtime project Chairman Quentin Kopp, a former state legislator and judge who now opposes the bullet train. “I don’t know how (the state) could even mention starting construction with pending litigation. It’s irresponsible.”
Also unclear is the impact of the delay on the ARTIC Station being built with OCTA Measure M money which replaces the perfectly adequate station only a few hundred feet away. With no HSR coming soon (or ever) to Anaheim, the question that’s been raised is why this dinosaur was ever built. Per the OC Register last month:
ARTIC was conceived as much more than a Metrolink station and a bus stop. It was going to hum with high-speed bullet trains and even a “super speed” shuttle to Ontario’s airport, all within walking distance of 9,500 new high-rise homes, according to a 2005 agreement between Anaheim and the OCTA. Only about a fifth of those homes were built before the recession put Anaheim’s hopes for an urban Platinum Triangle on hold. And high-speed rail has become mired in politics and questions about the billions of dollars it would cost to build. The state’s High-Speed Rail Authority doesn’t expect a bullet train to pull into Anaheim until at least 2029.
Also unexplained in the Register story was the cost estimate for ARTIC at $221 million — previous estimates for it in multiple stories were repeatedly reported at $174 million. We’d then speculate that the OCTA has a $47 million cost overrun to explain, nearly as much as occurred with the 22 Freeway widening.