Let’s hear it for the Party of NO. For all the evidence and bad press the California High-Speed Rail debacle has received and for its deserved label as the “Browndoggle”, Governor Jerry Brown just can’t let go of this temporary union job-generator, private land destroyer and environmental faux pas. But thankfully, the Republicans still have control of one sixth of the Federal government and the common sense to try to take HSR out of its budget plans.
When the Seattle-based Master of Malevolence, blogger Robert Cruikshank, proprietor of the California High Speed Rail Blog, gets his panties in a wad, we know something good is up: Congressional Republicans Still Trying to Kill California HSR. Cruikshank, who also edits the lefty blog Calitics, is one of the best spinners and liars on the west coast when it comes to defending the Browndoggle, stroking its union benefactors and propping up Brown’s lunatic plans to begin building this mess (sans rail and rail cars) somewhere mid-state. Cruikshank’s enemy last week was Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters who wrote:
Last week, speaking in Sacramento, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the third-ranking House leader, cautioned California against the “false belief” that more federal funds would be forthcoming. “I would hate to see them start a process they cannot finish,” McCarthy said.
Not a spade of dirt should be turned, a cow pie displaced, or a dime spent until ALL the funding for the Browndoggle is identified and secured — of course, that will surely kill it as even the Messiah seems more interested in grander plans like rewriting the Constitution than building 19th Century technology in the red states. As well, no HSR should be started in California until ALL legal issues are resolved — especially any challenges to Proposition 1A that brought us this turkey in the first place. Those who voted for it legally expected a non-stop, 240mph, San Francisco <> LA train ride — what they’ll end up with, MAYBE, is no where close, presuming anything’s even built in their lifetimes. We’ve been lied to about this project, and continue to be deceived by a dishonest Governor.
Two items make this an Orange County story. First, as we’ve written more than once, the ARTIC station to be built with Measure M funds in Anaheim is wholly unnecessary, and ESPECIALLY SO WITHOUT HSR reaching it. Which it won’t. ARTIC needs the same scrutiny by the OCTA as its Board will be giving the equally ridiculous, and more expensive, $319 million streetcar project that’s planned to move the invisible hordes of HSR riders to Disneyland.
It was Curt Pringle who hatched this memorial to his reign as Anaheim’s Mayor and as cornerstone to his failed uber-development project in the Platinum Triangle. Anaheim actually needs to do (and spend) nothing as its existing train station at Angels Stadium is more than adequate for the few Metrolink and Amtrak trains it handles (the Fullerton and Irvine train stations have more boardings than Anaheim). Further, Pringle’s dream of private investment in ARTIC was precisely that — his support deserted him when it was obvious ARTIC would end up nothing more than an empty barn.
Second, if plans for the pictured X-Train succeed, Fullerton becomes its OC terminus for service to Las Vegas. This privately-funded venture won’t even pass through Anaheim as its location lacks the routes that Fullerton supports (not all the Metrolink routes touch either the old or a new Anaheim station). The X-Train — which uses existing track, leases existing locomotives and employs Amtrak operators — makes as much sense as its competitor, XPress West does not. Train expert Cruikshank gets heartburn again over that damn GOP: Congressional Republicans Try to Block Federal Loan for Vegas HSR. But he fails explain how many gamblers this new operation with new hardware between Vegas and Victorville is going to carry for the Fed funding it needs to acquire right-of-way, lay track and buy equipment. And like CAHSR and Pringle’s barn, expected private funding for Xpress West never appeared. Neither can anyone explain who’s going to drive to Victorville and leave their car to take a train to Las Vegas.
The Republicans are doing the right thing by not funding these train wrecks. We’re tired of paying for these adventures.
UPDATE 3/17/13: The San Diego Union-Tribune published a well-timed editorial piece late yesterday that sums up the current Fed funding dilemma for the Browndoggle — and it’s now the Democrats that will deny Brown his money to build the atrocity. From Senate budget should be death knell for bullet train, in part,
There is no identified source for that funding – none. As has become abundantly clear over the past four years, private investors will never offer a dime without revenue or ridership guarantees that are illegal under the terms of the 2008 initiative. But project supporters, with the encouragement of the Obama administration, have said the federal government would come to the rescue. The events of this week have moved that claim from the category of very unlikely to utterly preposterous.
It’s already well-established that the Republicans who control the U.S. House will block major future funding for California’s bullet-train boondoggle. Now it looks like that’s also the case for the Democrats who control the U.S. Senate. Last week, Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., released a proposed 10-year budget, the first her party has put forward in more than three years. The 114-page document proposes a total of $100 billion in infrastructure spending over a decade for all 50 states – and for many causes: upgrading roads and bridges, transit and rail systems, ports and waterways, airports, water infrastructure and energy transmission systems and expanding broadband technology.
The budget never mentions the California bullet train, which needs many billions more in federal money just to build the second segment, much less the L.A.-San Francisco route. So why is California about to waste $6 billion to start a project that has no feasible path to completion?
So the writing’s on the wall for the BOS, the OCTA and the city of Anaheim — the TRAIN’S NOT COMING. ARTIC NEED NOT BE BUILT. SAVE OUR MONEY.