High-speed rail waste continues – Whittier Daily News

High-speed rail waste continues – Whittier Daily News

File – This image provided by the California High-Speed ​​​​Rail Authority shows an artist’s impression of a high-speed train in California. (File AP Photo/California High-Speed ​​​​Rail Authority, File)

A Google search for “bullet train in California” and “boondoggle” returned 31,900 results, one of which linked to a New York Post article that said, “California mocks high-speed train bridge to nowhere” after the project boasted about the completion of the Fresno River Viaduct.

On June 27, the California High-Speed ​​​​Rail Authority, which operates the project, announced that its board had granted final approvals for the environmental impact report/statement (EIR/EIS) for the section between Palmdale and Burbank.

This means that all permits for the section from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the most extensive of the project, have been completed, “only the section from Los Angeles to Anaheim is still in Phase 1” of construction.

CEO Brian Kelly called it “a transformative project for the entire state of California and today’s approval is a major milestone in connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours.”

The problem remains that funding the project is just as unrealistic as it was when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger persuaded voters to pass Proposition 1A in 2008.

Sixteen years ago, according to the statement on the initiative’s fiscal impact, voters were promised a “cost to the state of approximately $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to repay both the bond principal ($9.95 billion) and the interest ($9.5 billion).” The project was scheduled to be completed by 2020.

However, on March 12, the Legislative Analyst’s Office analyzed the draft 2024 business plan and found that costs had increased to $107.6 billion. The plan called for raising $3.3 billion in federal funds and “identified a goal” to raise an additional $4.7 billion from federal taxpayers.

Getting that money will likely be difficult, as Republicans in Congress are challenging additional funding. On May 29, Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sam Graves (R-Missouri) wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg claiming there is “no reasonable path to successfully completing the project.”

As MPs continue their August recess, they should ask their constituents whether more taxpayers’ money should be spent on this waste of money or on fixing potholes.