Patterico's Pontifications


Shock Article: California Bullet Train Over Budget

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Let’s take a break from Donald Trump’s latest drama of the day and discuss a truly shocking development: the California bullet train is over budget.

Hahahahaha I couldn’t keep a straight face for even 10 seconds. Of course it’s over budget:

The estimated cost of building 119 miles of bullet train track in the Central Valley has jumped to $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion from the current budget and up from about $6 billion originally.

The new calculation takes into account a number of intractable problems encountered by the state rail agency. It raises profoundly difficult questions about how the state will complete what is considered the nation’s largest infrastructure project with the existing funding sources.

I have an answer. It can’t.

Look how easily I was able to answer a “profoundly difficult” question!

This train has always been a ridiculous idea. Projects like this are always over budget, and it’s destined to be a more dangerous, slower, and more cumbersome way to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles at a price just slightly lower than that offered by the airlines.

What’s more, it’s taking place at the expense of public safety. Governor Jerry Brown has been trying to pay for this debacle by spending the last several years emptying our prisoners of, well, pretty much everybody — including violent criminals. Gun laws have been weakened. Parole has been increasingly granted and available to even the worst murderers.

Meanwhile, the People will be asked to fund larger and larger bond issues to keep this turkey afloat.

It’s a joke. It’s always been a joke. Now even the elites are starting to have to face that fact.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

96 Responses to “Shock Article: California Bullet Train Over Budget”

  1. obama raped them with this bullet train he raped them in the pooper

    and what could have slopped the piggy pensions

    can’t never be recooper

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. Were they drunk or stoned (more likely) when they did their
    cost projections?

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. The point of Highspeed Train is to spend Federal Department of Transportation matching fund. That money has been spend. The current Department of Transportation isn’t handing out matching fund like free cocaine sample.

    BigFire (9c4d0c)

  4. Whose the contractor whose being incentivizing the local boards.
    They built our rail line to nowhere in south Florida under Lehman’s direction

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. It seems a competent enterprise, its an exclusively
    califirnian fustercluck:

    But they don’t tell you any of this.

    narciso (d1f714)

  6. If what Big Fire says is true, CA is even more effed than I thought. I always felt the federal match would be commandeered at a later date for maintenance and operations of existing capital.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  7. Its a German firm, Deutsche Bahn.

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you.

    If they had an interest and were ever able to follow the money, i.e., who among Brown/Dem cronies have profited from this disastrous boondoggle, there might be indictments handed down.

    Colonel Haiku (3f1823)

  9. Of course, I had to look up the company via the wiki, of course the new exec at the authority presided over this boondoggle.

    narciso (d1f714)

  10. Most of the $50M+ overrun money officials say they hope to recover will probably be “recovered” from California taxpayers rather than actual fare-paying train riders.

    Colonel Haiku (3f1823)

  11. Wish I could find it but there was an excellent article on the boondoggle which showed that among the corruption was a plan to make this a union-only enterprise, a nice way to shift millions in taxpayer money thru the unions to Democratic Party campaign coffers.

    I know, shocking.

    harkin (8256c3)

  12. An earlier piece said it was budgeted at 68 billion, that was 2 years ago.

    narciso (d1f714)

  13. Did they forget that little detail, the dog trainer did notice
    With some dejected weariness, but I’m sure it will work everywhere else.

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. It is more than 119 miles from SF to LA. This is just for approximately 20% of the total run, and the easy part, at that. The central valley is flat and lots of agricultural land to acquire. The article notes that they still face getting past the Tehachapis (sp?) and also establishing a route through the south Bay Area to reach SF.

    They knew the actual cost when it all started, but low-balled it to trick voters into approving the expenditure. It is depleting highway funds causing the roadways to fall apart, and now there is a tax increase, and override on vehicle registration, to pump up the highway fund. This was all a trick to repay the construction industry (read unions) for support at the ballot box.

    Recent history has shown that passenger rail is not self-supporting.

    Gramps (a079bc)

  15. I get the feeling like the times, the dog trainer doesn’t read their own paper.

    narciso (d1f714)

  16. Brown needs a bullet, not Cantafordya.

    mg (8cbc69)

  17. It will also use more energy than flying.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  18. I am willing to bet that the $100 billion or so needed to finish the entire bullet train line would be far better spent building 100 miles of subway in Los Angeles.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  19. The next GOP gubernatorial candidate should run on a promise to cancel the entire project and to build a monument to Jerry Brown out of its ruins. Something involving moonbeams.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  20. The correct name for the project is The Moonbeam Express.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  21. The Honolulu transit disaster is just as bad. They need billions to finish the last 5 miles. It stops 5 miles before downtown Honolulu. They were told it would reduce traffic by 1%. And they built it anyway. Stupid morons.

    mg (8cbc69)

  22. This was all a trick to repay the construction industry

    Most of the money for these projects goes to favored landowners, planners, consultants and EIRs.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  23. It’s already obsolete. Hyperloop for the masses and driverless tech for the rest will arrive before the bullet train does. Regardless, get the government out of the technology subsidy business and let inventors put their money where their dreams are and let market forces pick winners and losers.

    crazy (d99a88)

  24. Albuquerque Rapid Transit. Electric buses from LA that, when show up, do not hold a charge. Plus bent frames and computers that only read/write in Chinese.

    This lemonade aint going to make itself. Probably just needs a little tequila and some salt on the rim.

    neal (7b607d)

  25. The distance between LA and SF is about 400 miles. Such a challenge! Yet the distance between Osaka and Tokyo is roughly 300 miles. But some how the Japanese managed to build and been operating these bullet trains for over half a century. Routine.

    In 1961, President Kennedy directed NASA to put a man on the moon, 240,000 miles away, and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade. Up to $40 billion was the projected budget estimate. Eight years later, the U.S. put men on the moon twice by the end of 1969, a round trip of half a million miles, ahead of schedule and under budget, for $24 billion; much of the expense going to establishing and constructing the infrastructure.

    ‘That other America; they did things differently there.’ – Dan Rather, CBS News, 7/20/89

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  26. Maybe you should move to Japan. This is nothing but a hyper-expensive boondoggle and crony socialism.

    Colonel Haiku (3f1823)

  27. @26. =Haiku!= Gesundheit!

    Can’t live in a place where what is bait on a hook on Sunday is lunch on a plate on Monday– but don’t let that stop you.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  28. Japan eats SO many rice, which is loaded with carbs

    this is why they are so lethargic

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  29. You wouldn’t last over there, far too competitive, you have to produce.

    Colonel Haiku (3f1823)

  30. @29 =Haiku!= Gesundheit!

    Hence, worked for Matsush!ta here where they served Trump chow and we’llall lie to be 100 for it!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  31. It just strikes me how they discount the cost by a,factor of 10, and then are surprised by a,10% hike.

    narciso (21eb6d)

  32. Trey Gowdy, who led the Republican questioning, pressed Bannon hard on his description of Don Junior’s Trump Tower meeting as “treasonous.” Gowdy asked Bannon whether he would consider it treason for somebody close to him to approach Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Bannon replied that such a scenario would be bad judgment. Then Gowdy produced emails from a Cambridge Analytica employee — the Trump campaign data firm closely affiliated with Bannon — boasting of just such contacts with Assange. Bannon claimed this was the first time he’d seen these emails (though they’ve been in the news.)

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  33. @32. Sounds like an episode of Pinky and the Brain.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  34. Japan has 3 times the population concentration as California, which doesn’t even take into account that much of Japan is uninhabitable. Trains make sense there, and having worked there, I can affirm that they are awesome. They don’t work here except as a source of boondoggle cash for the few.

    Plus, Dan Rather is an idiot.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  35. 33 Beve Stannon and Butthead.

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  36. 34 have you been to San Bernardino? Iraq?

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  37. The Lehman rail line starts in downturn, runs northwest to Hialeah runs south to Kendall, not optimAl routes.

    narciso (21eb6d)

  38. Rep. Gowdy said, “We spent the first half of the day trying to understand what in the world he was talking about with executive privilege. His version of executive privilege is it covers the transition, the time he was at the White House, and covers time in memoriam. That is no one’s definition of executive privilege.”

    He continued, “We spent several hours trying to figure out just what he was talking about and then in the afternoon we had to dodge around these three categories that are apparently off limits… This is the same person who accused two of the president’s family members of committing treasonous acts. Of course, we’ll want to cross-examine him on what he thinks was treasonous, but if everything is off-limits that’s a really short conversation.”

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  39. “That other America; they did things differently there.”

    Most thinking people in CA figured out Moonbeam was all hat and no cattle a long time ago.

    harkin (8256c3)

  40. That’s nowhere a,majority in California natch.

    narciso (21eb6d)

  41. I thought the rail line was a sort of mitigation against extending 95 as an expressway further south of it’s present terminus.

    urbanleftbehind (6eb13a)

  42. If you want to see where this is headed, spend 30 minutes googling around at the history off the rail transit project on Oahu.

    Original price estimate back in 2006 when approved by City of Honolulu — $5.3 billion.

    Current estimate to finish $10.8 billion.

    And they can’t stop now because they have sunk about $6 billion already into constructing the easiest portion — starting on the sparsely populated West end of Oahu, through a lot of rural former ag land, and are just now approaching the outer limit of downtown Honolulu. Up to this point its been constructed mostly on flat bare ground. Now they are going to have to start tearing up city streets between high rise buildings to build a track that will run about 25 feet above ground.

    Its all a fiasco that has filled the coffers of engineering firms, construction companies, labor unions and democrat politicians.

    One of the best lines I heard when the debate over building rail was at its hottest was in response to the idea that project would generate thousands of construction jobs. One opponent said, “Really? Then how about we have all the contracts include a provision that no gas powered equipment can be used — only shovels and wheelbarrows — think about how many more jobs that would create.”

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  43. One of the few places trains are economically viable is the NE corridor between Boston, New York and DC.

    The distances are short, and the ridership high to keep people on the trains.

    But the last time I checked, the Acela is as or even more expensive than flying from DC to NY.

    But you do end up downtown and you avoid TSA interrogation booths at the airports.

    WarEagle82 (2b3d34)

  44. NYC’s 2nd avenue line only took 80 years from concept to completion of 1st phase. There’ll be teleportation before the next phase is completed.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  45. All this talk about trains – saving energy and all that- This is America we drive, build some high-speed highways so I can take my old Impala out and cruise at 100.

    mg (8cbc69)

  46. The earlier link two years ago said 68 billion am I reading it wrongm

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. i wonder what hollywood trash-biscuit-with-daddy-issues Jennifer Lawrence thinks about the choo choo

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. The correct name for the project is The Moonbeam Express.

    Kevin M (752a26) — 1/17/2018 @ 11:45 am

    Actually, it’s High Speed Fail.

    Bill H (383c5d)

  49. I have not seen an infrastructure project, especially rail and bridges, that wasn’t a democrat jobs/votes/payola scheme. I’ve never seen one come in on time or on budget. They aren’t supposed to. BTW, Shipwreckedcrew when you stated: “Its all a fiasco that has filled the coffers of engineering firms, construction companies, labor unions and democrat politicians.” you forgot the lawyers. Oh the scores of lawyers. To handle all the law suits. The thousands of law suits. And all the bureaucrats. OSHA bureaucrats, EEOC bureaucrats, EPA and so on and bureaucrats from all levels of government: city, county, state and federal. Redundancy is the shredded chocolate on the cannoli of bureaucracy. (That was for happyfeet).

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  50. oh man

    cannoli’s such a perfect winter delicacy

    i’m still on my carb thing :(

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  51. I do recall in the hunger games, there was a high speed rail from the districts to the capital. People were starving but they had the rail

    narciso (d1f714)

  52. didn’t hollywood trash-biscuit-with-daddy-issues Jennifer Lawrence make sexy on the train?

    with that one guy what’s so obviously gay

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  53. maybe they just had a moment or something

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  54. No i think you are confusing it with passengers

    narciso (d1f714)

  55. This is her next project for release:

    Now I suspect the derivative pieces from the times will have the same ertors

    narciso (d1f714)

  56. 49… they call that a scotoma, Hoagie…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  57. 56…You know I had to look it up, Colonel. Every day I learn sumpin’.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  58. That’s what keeps us young, Hoagie.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  59. cannoli’s such a perfect winter delicacy

    Tell me about it, happyfeet. I have a place near me called Sam’s Italian Market & Bakery. It’s on Moreland Road in Willow Grove. They make all their own stuff, pastas, baked goods even some cheeses. Their hoagies are to die for (I get the guy to make mine with HOT sopressada and x-sharp provolone and a generous dose of Italian long-hots peppers. The thing costs me $12 but it’s worth it). Anyway they make these cannoli that are unbelievable. I get them when I’m making an Italian meal for guests to “round out” the authenticity. Plus, I always get some on the holidays just cause. I once bought a dozen and only five survived till dinner.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  60. This is quite confusing. Aren’t Lefties against people using bullets?

    Kishnevi (86d06e)

  61. Actually, it’s High Speed Fail.

    It seems like low-speed fail.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  62. Rail, and particularly subways, makes sense in a dense urban environment. Tokyo, London, New York, Paris. Places where roads alone cannot handle the volume. Light rail is a lot cheaper, but it conflicts with roads, and if you separate all the grades, it’s not that much cheaper than subways, and a lot noisier. Light rail also doesn’t scale.

    I have lived for extended periods in Tokyo, London and Hamburg, all of which have good rail systems. I never drove a car in any of those places. Mostly didn’t need to, and there are always taxis.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  63. The elites never have to admit error.That’s what being elite is all about.

    vin (9314fe)

  64. The point here, vin is they aren’t errors. They are specifically designed and implemented boondoggles made with the express purpose of enriching the democrat leaders, their government employees and their labor union supporters. There is never any doubt in their minds who will get the money, when they’ll get it and how it will be “justified”. It’s all about the Benjamin’s. Well, that and vote buying. I’m from Philly and I’ve watched stuff like this for years. The democrats in this town, especially the black ones, won’t let you take a piss without a payoff and that’s just SOP.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  65. The Fake News Awards are in! See where your favorite MSM lie placed:

    Lenny (5ea732)

  66. The economy has created nearly 2 million jobs and gained over $8 trillion in wealth since the President’s inauguration.

    The GDP for 2016 was $18.57 trillion, so an increase of 8 trillion would be a fairly massive 43%.

    Or is Trump simply trying to take credit for the current stock market bubble?

    Kishnevi (2326a6)

  67. Labor participation rate for Dec 2017: 62.7 Dec 2016: 62.7 Dec 2015: 62.7

    Looks like the economy has been stagnant to me.

    Davethulhu (99cc74)

  68. The stock market was propped by quantitative
    Easing which helped make good staples more expensive and weighed down by policies like the health care mandate and the suppression of fracking on federal lands.

    narciso (21eb6d)

  69. Actually, it’s High Speed Fail.

    It seems like low-speed fail.

    Kevin M (752a26) — 1/17/2018 @ 6:25 pm

    I’m sure some other wags have thought of this, but I first heard it from LaDona Harvey on AM600 (KOGO) here in San Diego. It’s the most concise way I’ve heard to describe Jerry’s Legacy to the state.

    It is sorta like a low-speed wreck that you just can’t take your eyes from. I just wish it weren’t stealing 66B+++ that we need for other things and destroying some of the world’s most fertile farmland, all for the sake of a grandiose project leading nowhere. I guess after his father Pat and the California Aquaduct, Jerry has feelings of inadequacy.

    Bill H (383c5d)

  70. At least your train agencies haven’t killed anyone. Yet!

    Charles (8ffdf1)

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  72. Heh.

    Them danged Iron Horses spooked my Guernseys again this morning. I hear theyre gonna make smaller ones with roa wheels..what World!

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  73. Back to 40cents

    A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that by a 53-to-40-percent margin, Americans deemed Trump’s first year a failure. And by an almost 2-to-1 margin (61 to 32 percent), Americans said they believe Trump has divided the country since his election.

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  74. The dog trainee names a whole other contractor for the chra miscues

    narciso (d1f714)

  75. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that by a 53-to-40-percent margin, Americans deemed Trump’s first year a failure.

    Hahaha. That is hilarious! Fake news NPR/PBS citing a Fake Poll NewsHour/Maxist to prove that the people who patronize NPR/NPS are so indoctrinated with radical leftist stupidity they think Trump failed when we all know he lowered taxes, eliminated silly regulations, has more blacks working than ever before (suck it Hussein), the market’s on a tear, unemployment is the lowest in years, more Hispanics are working than ever, fewer people on welfare and SNAP, withdrew from the anti American climate accord, has corporations raising wages and repatriating billions in taxes and R&D, beat the crap out of ISIS, is getting control of immigration and told Kim to suck a wet one.

    Their heads explode daily! WINNING!! Dream on A-holes at NPR/PBS. I guess you can act and think like idiots when your station is supported by raping the taxpayer. Lies, all lies and they know it.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  76. Hoagie: are you laughing or crying?

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  77. 7 per cent dont know Trump is a failure..

    Is that your group hoagie?

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  78. Hahahahsa. That’s the mother of all laughs if you believe your own sh!t. Save it for your useful idiots we don’t buy it here. Only a complete moron can look at the upturn in the economy and say Trump’s a failure. Well, I guess a nut or a liar could too either way they are in denial.

    Trump the Raaaacist:

    During an appearance on “Meet the Press” this weekend, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul exposed the truth behind President Donald Trump’s history with Haiti — and there’s not much Trump’s critics can say about Paul’s smoking gun proof.

    Leftist critics suggested last week that Trump called Haitian people a derogatory term because he allegedly refered to the country as a “sh*thole” — so, rather than help lead the country the president has spent almost a full week answering questions about his “tough language.”

    Paul served up the facts that Democrats were hoping would never get out. Trump isn’t a racist — and there’s proof. He spent thousands and thousands of dollars of his own money, in private, to help give vision back to over hundreds of people in Haiti post-earthquake.

    This is before Trump was a politician. He gave the donation because he cared, not because he wanted to score political points.

    “I think it is unfair to all of a sudden, paint him, ‘well, he’s a racist,’ when I know for a fact he cares very deeply about the people in Haiti because he helped to finance a trip, we were able to give vision back for 200 people in Haiti,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  79. You’re losin it Hoagmeister..

    Try a muscle relaxer.

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  80. From the Politico piece..

    Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, tweeted on Tuesday of the president’s comments about North Korea, “This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes.”

    Admiral Ben Bunsen Burner (e96021)

  81. If the GOP fails to capitalize on these issues, they don’t deserve to be called a party. The last guy got 30-40% of the vote without even running a campaign. (Then he got his reward, an appointment to a Federal Reserve post.) It will take a brawler to win, and I don’t think any of them have what it takes.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  82. Cause now “Richard Painter” is now your go-to expert on everything Trump? Hahahahaha. Cause you leftists are THE experts at everything.

    “They include Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who proclaimed on the day Trump was elected that the economy would never recover.

    The Dow Jones closed at 19,732 the day Trump was inaugurated. Yesterday, just less than a year later, it closed above 26,000.

    But then, Krugman informs us that inflation and massive government waste are economically beneficial, so maybe a rising stock market is bad.

    Under President Oprah, Krugman could be Treasury Secretary.” Dave Blount–uI%2FAAAAAAAACvI%2FdHiKBm8OTGY%2Fs1600%2FObama%252BOne%252Bof%252BBest%252BPresidents.png&key=bYO0RBgfFNBkoS5nVlDHQA&w=600&h=480

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  83. @18
    “I am willing to bet that the $100 billion or so needed to finish the entire bullet train line would be far better spent building 100 miles of subway in Los Angeles.”

    I am willing to bet that the money would be better spent if converted into $5 bills and scattered by air over the state.

    Seriously, why is so goddamned attractive about rail systems? I lived in the DC area for years. In that time, the Metro ridership never reached projected numbers. The Metro (AKA Congress’s Toy Train Set) was great for tourists, and for me (I was hpworking from home and only used it to sight see). It was next to useless for most commuters. Parking at outlying Metro stations was,expensive enough that you had to be A) keeping track of milage on your car to claim on your taxes and B) getting a discount on your Metro cards to break even on a system of transport that did you little good if you needed to go efficiently from pace to pace in the city as part of your work.

    I recently spent some time in DC (wife was in a hospital there), and due to overstraining the system to get new lines open and skimping on maintenance to make the numbers look better the Metro was breaking down regularly.

    The New York subways have had decades of maintenance problems associated with political unwillingness to raise fares when necessary.

    The California proposal based speed estimates on an all new rail right of way, and cost estimates on using old rails already in place. Every critical examination of themproject has pointed this out, and the Political estanlishment goes right ahead.

    We need to appropreate the term ‘Metrosexual’ to describe politicians who are sexually excited by rail projects. The men it currently describes can be adequately labled by the terms ‘jerk’ or ‘twerp’.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  84. > why is so goddamned attractive about rail systems?

    they are immune to traffic problems on surface streets, unlike busses. that means they are more reliable than busses, and often means they are faster than busses.

    you can get around this problem with dedicated bus-only tracks or dedicated bus lanes, but building those is extremely difficult as everyone screams about the parking impact.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  85. Shipwreckedcrew: Honolulu traffic is intermittently the worst traffic in the nation, largely as a result of real geographic constraints on where roads can go there. See

    How would you resolve Honolulu’s traffic problem, if *not* with a rail project?

    aphrael (3f0569)

  86. I only care about one section and I want to ride it once before the whole thing collapses due to financial mismanagement. Bakersfield to Palmdale. It’s supposed to be a straight shot from Edison up to the Tehachapi Pass which means about 15 miles of tunnels and 7 miles of bridges over deep canyons. Imagine coming out of a tunnel then over a bridge 600 feet high at 200 mph. Yeehaa! That will be one E-ticket ride. I’ll ride it just for the grins.

    Allen (c03af3)

  87. I thought it was named “The Brown Streak”

    steveg (a9dcab)

  88. “nation’s largest infrastructure project” -> “nation’s most wasteful infrastructure project”

    instagonline (02eee9)

  89. The articles you create are always interesting to watch and read is very useful. Always passion and success continues.

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