Patterico's Pontifications

2/21/2019

Trump Threatens to Claw Back Bullet Train Funding: Newsom Objects

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:39 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The saga of California’s ill-fated High Speed Rail (HSR) project to at long last link citizens of Lerdo and Chowchilla via a 70-minute bullet train has unsurprisingly taken another interesting, if totally predictable, turn. No sooner did Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledge that the initial plans were a product of fantasyland and had to be brought back to reality (while still trying to assure his Big Government supporters that he hasn’t totally abandoned HSR once and for all) than his arch-nemesis President Donald Trump announced that California ought to return nearly one billion dollars in federal grant money that had been doled out to the state for the project.

As we have chronicled here in the past, the HSR project is a colossal mess of misplaced idealism, cynical opportunism, and egocentric legacy-making that should never have been given the greenlight to begin with. But with the vote to authorize the issuance of bonds coming in 2008, an election year dominated by Democrats, coupled with the new Obama Administration’s obsession with spending “stimulus” money on infrastructure no matter how questionable the project, the Golden State was able to finagle $3.5 billion in initial grant money to begin work on the Bakersfield to Madera portion of the line (estimated cost at the time for that segment was $6 billion, and it quickly ballooned to over $10 billion), with the promise of additional federal matching funds once that part of the project had been completed.

Now the wishful thinking and duplicity of the HSR advocates is obvious, and we’re faced with a huge white elephant project that has almost no feasible path to completion. After serving as the foil to Governor Newsom’s progressive white knight in the state of the state address last week, President Trump is striking back:

The demand for the entire $3.5 billion probably stems from Gov. Newsom’s careless and offhanded quip in the address, “With all due respect, I have no interest in sending back $3.5 billion of federal funding that was allocated to this project to President Donald Trump.” The reality of the situation is that the $3.5 billion was advanced specifically for the Bakersfield-Madera segment, so provided that is eventually completed the state will have met its obligation, as long the feds are willing to overlook the California HSR Authority blowing by the initial timetable and cost estimates. Unfortunately for fast choo-choo enthusiasts, however, not all of that sum has been distributed yet, so President Trump’s Department of Transportation has seen fit to fire a shot across the Governor’s bow:

Naturally, the Newsom Administration is up in arms about the federal spigot being shut off, understanding that would imperil the completion of the Central Valley segment. So this whole mess is the perfect encapsulation of California vs. Trump in 2019: philosophical differences and petty grievances, adjudicated by incessant lawsuits. I think all of you can guess whose side I am taking in this scuffle, though it is painfully fascinating to watch Gov. Newsom and his allies go through their “we can’t build HSR right now but we’ll be able to do it eventually if given enough time” gyrations. What a colossal mess, and those of us in the Golden State would do well to remember this fiasco next time some film-flam artists suggest a massive project with wishful timetables and uncertain financing.

Cross-posted in The Jury Talks Back because we’re discussing you-know-who.

– JVW

99 Responses to “Trump Threatens to Claw Back Bullet Train Funding: Newsom Objects”

  1. Every time I write one of these posts I do a little more research into this whole thing, and I am continually astonished by how poorly this project has been managed dating back to the very get-go. Yesterday, I was reading up on email correspondence that the HSR Authority had with the federal government back in 2011 where HSRA was asking if they could use the federal funding to get started on the project without having state-provided matching funds, and if they could blow past the very lenient 2017 deadline for using the funds. The Obama DOT, to their credit, said no to both requests (letter here). So given that 2017 deadline, it would seem the Trump DOT is absolutely correct in denying that additional unspent $929 million from the original $3.5 billion grant. You snooze, you lose.

    JVW (37f1d8)

  2. Thank you for the write up JVW. This shows how money can be re-purposed for other causes once it isn’t used property. In reality, programs should be slashed across the board.

    I see the leftist radicals running for president are rumbling about reparations once again. As if we haven’t bankrupted the nation enough already.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  3. My reaction to Newsome’s claim that Trump is punishing California is “DUH”. Of course he is. And why not? California has gone out of its way to resist Trump and his policies. What did they expect to happen?

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  4. “What did they expect to happen?”

    I’m not sure if they expected Orange County to flip, or if it was a happy accident.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  5. Don’t feel alone. Honolulu has its own fast train to nowhere that is not even close to being finished and has no dough to complete.

    mg (93d2b1)

  6. “I see the leftist radicals running for president are rumbling about reparations once again. As if we haven’t bankrupted the nation enough already.”

    Gotta keep them on the voting plantation any way they can. MAGA hats, rope and bleach sure aren’t working.

    harkin (b5e7fd)

  7. Wait till the OC has as many Sanctuary felons, discarded needles and sidewalk excrement as Frisco.

    Democratic leadership FTW!

    harkin (b5e7fd)

  8. California’s getting railroaded.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. Vote harvesting, Cthulhu.

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  10. Don’t feel alone. Honolulu has its own fast train to nowhere. . .

    Because one should always be in a real hurry to get somewhere when one is in paradise. Was that train planned for the benefit of the locals or the benefit of the tourists?

    JVW (37f1d8)

  11. You have the “other project” right now. It’s the tunnel(s) designed to take water from the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to SoCal. The plus is being able to put a bunch of Delta farmers out of business because they have the temerity to give money to and vote for Re…. Re …. Republicans.

    Bang Gunley (5a4596)

  12. You have the “other project” right now. It’s the tunnel(s) designed to take water from the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to SoCal.

    We discussed that a bit last week. Newsom now wants it to be one tunnel instead of two, and because of that it sounds like the plans have to go back to the environmental approval stages and will be trapped in bureaucratic Gehenna for the next decade. Thanks Gavin, for punting on that important project. I guess Governor Sandra Fluke will get around to it right after the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics ends.

    JVW (37f1d8)

  13. For the locals, JVW. They ran out of money before it could get to the center of the city. Still miles away. Another farce is there is no parking or bathrooms at most of the finished stops. And the other islands are tired of donating to a worthless cause.

    mg (93d2b1)

  14. 12… thanks, that last sentence had me racing for the terlet…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. There was nothing “uncertain” about the financing, citizen.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  16. If Trump were really mean, he’d say that California could have the money, but only if they spent it on building L.A. transit. With any luck that would get CA Democrats fighting over spoils.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  17. The Last Train to Clarksville The Fast Train to Lerdo

    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    Don’t forget teh Ken-L-Ration
    You can be there by four-thirty
    ‘Cause I’ve made a calculation, it ain’t low
    Oh, no, no, no
    Oh, no, no, no

    ‘Cause I’m posing for the cameras
    And I won’t give nothin’ back
    And I’ll say Trump’s just a bad man
    And throw good cash after bad cuz I’m a hack
    Oh, no, no, no
    Oh, no, no, no
    And I don’t know if I’m ever going back

    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    I’ll be waiting at the station
    I’ll have time to bang your missus
    And a bit of conversation
    Oh, no, no, no
    Oh, no, no, no

    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    Don’t forget they’ll tap the phone
    If you can’t put the past behind you, throw a dog a bone
    I’m feeling low
    Oh, no, no, no
    Oh, no, no, no
    And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home
    Oh

    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    Take the fast train to Lerdo
    Take the fast train to Lerdo

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  18. 12… thanks, that last sentence had me racing for the terlet…

    Just when you think the quality of leadership in this state cannot possibly get any worse. . .

    JVW (54fd0b)

  19. I was hoping someone would notice my “Lerdo to Chowchilla” description of the train. I’m going to have to try and remember to refer to it as such from here on in.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  20. Newsom calls the wall a “vanity project”. The much more expensive “Brown Streak” was simply a misguided but noble attempt to save all mankind…. I meant human kind please please please don’t doxx me

    steveg (a9dcab)

  21. Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 2/21/2019 @ 5:18 pm

    Big thumbs up from this Monkees fan.

    felipe (023cc9)

  22. In memory of Peter Tork too.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  23. Thanks guys… Wasco would’ve worked too, lol…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  24. For the locals, JVW. They ran out of money before it could get to the center of the city. Still miles away. Another farce is there is no parking or bathrooms at most of the finished stops. And the other islands are tired of donating to a worthless cause.

    Where was it supposed to be running to/from?

    I would think a high speed ferry service between the islands would have some traction, but a bullet train from one side of Honolulu to the other suggests people have been drinking too many mai-tais.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  25. its a 20 mile project with 5 miles remaining to the city center. No money, last I read maybe 2025

    mg (7e0e37)

  26. What nobody has pointed out so far is the true reason for the project from the beginning: sweetheart deals for the labor unions and kickbacks to the Democrat party. These infrastructure projects that are sold as boons to the citizens of California result in gigantic cost overruns (not surprising if you’ve been paying attention), extended schedules, and money back in the pockets of the Democrats who champion them. Gov. Brown also expected the added benefit of the state naming it after him. Although I wonder why anyone would be proud of the “Moonbeam Express”?

    Weltall (efc071)

  27. job security for the unions, especially when shitty workmanship adds years to union maintenance contracts.

    mg (7e0e37)

  28. job security for the unions, especially when crappy workmanship adds years to union maintenance contracts.

    mg (7e0e37)

  29. Following the lead of Colonel Haiku, I wrote a parody song to the tune of the Kingston Trio’s MTA

    Well, let me tell you of the story of a task that started on a tragic and fateful day.
    When the State of California passed a proposition for a high speed rail to L. A.
    Will it ever be done? It will never be done. It’s a shame ‘twas ever begun. (What a pity)
    Though they strain forever, it’s a vain endeavor It’s the train that never will run.

    When the project started, the projected outlay was a modest, affordable amount.
    But, the budget was deficient, and costs exploded to a total too high to count.
    Will it ever be done? It will never be done. It’s a shame ‘twas ever begun. (Too much money)
    Though they strain forever, it’s a vain endeavor It’s the train that never will run.

    Now, you California voters don’t you think it’s a scandal how the state has to pay and pay?
    It was bait-and-switch! Time to call it quits!
    We should close this moneypit today.

    Will it ever be done? It will never be done. It’s a shame ‘twas ever begun.
    Though they strain forever, it’s a vain endeavor It’s the train that never will run.

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  30. hands clapping Dave in Cal.

    mg (7e0e37)

  31. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end.

    He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

    Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

    When she went to tell Edna the news she said, ‘Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.

    The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.’

    Edna replied, ‘He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?’

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  32. Excellent, David!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  33. MBTA, sir.
    Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority

    MTA is what they have in NYC.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  34. Kishnevi, at 23: Surprisingly enough, as I found out when I went to visit my brother while he was stationed there, Honolulu has *incredibly bad* traffic. According to http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/August-2015/How-Did-Traffic-in-Honolulu-Get-so-Bad/, in 2015, it was the *second worst in the nation*.

    Presumably the point to the train is as a commuter rail service to deal with this problem. Honolulu is a reasonably good place for commuter rail as there really aren’t a lot of routes to cover.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  35. The Fast Train to Lerdo

    Too soon.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  36. Tomorrow’s spin:

    “We were all set to finish it, but Trump has stopped the funds. It’s his fault. Another unicorn killed by the bad orange man.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  37. MBTA, sir.
    Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority

    The MBTA was still known as the MTA when the song came out. The name only changed a few years later when they expanded the commuter rail system.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  38. According to http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/August-2015/How-Did-Traffic-in-Honolulu-Get-so-Bad/, in 2015, it was the *second worst in the nation*.

    That’s interesting. I used to get to make business trips to Hawaii from 2000 until about 2010, and I remember traffic on the H1 being bad, but not second worse in the nation bad. Coming from Los Angeles, it actually seemed to me to be a step up.

    And my recollection is that Honolulu had a really good bus system, especially from Waikiki to all points in the island.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  39. Aphrael, I am skeptical. Not that Honolulu traffic is bad, but that other places are not worse. My first job out of school, I routinely went to work early and stayed an hour late to avoid the traffic on Miami’s Palmetto Expressway. My old job, the one I spent 27 years at, often had me spend an hour or more to drive 13 miles of crosstown traffic when my schedule had me work a day shift. And because of the direction, I usually had the sun in my eyes both ways. (By comparison, evening shifts took half an hour). My current job is a breeze: 25 minutes if there us a traffic, 20 minutes if there is none. And it’s north/south, no sun in the eyes.

    As bad as Miami traffic is, my brief experience of traffic in DC, New York, and Houston were worse.

    The worst problem on my current commute is school zones, and the hundreds of parents dropping their middle school kids off just as I need to be in work, and picking them up in the afternoon. And I don’t blame the parents in this case, since walking to school would require the kids to cross under an interstate, cross the feeder lanes to the interstate on each side, and then deal with a six lane surface street.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  40. california is a very dysfunctional place what wastes taxpayer money on imaginary trains that we could be using to build the wall to keep america lice free better

    mr. trump the president knows this and he’s putting his foot down and that’s why I love him

    and does anybody know how to turn off automatic capitalization on an android?

    nk (9651fb)

  41. Hey, there is a new reason to say America’s Favorite Niece is a hypocrite!

    https://nypost.com/2019/02/21/ocasio-cortez-rips-media-for-reporting-on-her-new-luxury-high-rise/amp/

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  42. My Android doesn’t have that. Or if it does it keeps it decently hidden.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  43. Wait, I think I see the problem. You can’t. You just have to remember to tap the shift button twice when you start a sentence. Do it twice. One time just leaves you doing the first word in ALL CAPS.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  44. nk, found it!
    Go to Settings/General Management/On Screen Keyboard. Which will bring up the keyboard you use. Select it, then go to Smart Typing, and you will see AutoCap among the various options to opt in or out of.

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  45. That’s not hypocrisy. It’s Socialism. It’s not living well which wounds a Socialist’s sensitive psyche; it’s having to work for it.

    nk (9651fb)

  46. Thank you, kishnevi.

    nk (9651fb)

  47. Marx to each according to his needs…

    AOC well I need a high rent apartment and a highly paid boyfriend…

    Kishnevi (f0a3aa)

  48. Hey, there is a new reason to say America’s Favorite Niece is a hypocrite!

    I am going to ride in to the defense of my beloved daffy and vacuous socialist niece and suggest that $2,000 for a studio (if that’s what she has) isn’t out of line at all with Washington, DC rents. And if she’s sharing it with her boyfriend (who is probably getting under-the-table money from various left-wing outfits) then even $2500 for a one-bedroom isn’t too outlandish.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  49. Your family tree needs de-weeviling, JVW.

    nk (9651fb)

  50. What’s rent in Anacostia, PGC, or the Salvatrucha-friendly parts of MD?

    urbanleftbehind (f2fd8b)

  51. I have heard too that a lot of the HSR money has been bled off from the train and used for other purposes.

    I know, you’re shocked.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  52. But I agree. A young woman, with or without a POSSLQ, should live in a safe neighborhood.

    nk (9651fb)

  53. Oh, I also like Trump’s attitude to Cuomo, who came hat in hand, expecting to grovel a little and get some bailout money from the feds as usual.

    Trump was basically “get a job.” Told him to start fracking or open up a pipeline to make up the shortfall.

    It’s like he realizes that these hunks of tax monies are real or something.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  54. Patricia, I suspect Trump’s feelings about New York Democrats were the significant factor.

    If he were truly concerned about tax monies he would, among other things, not demand that it be wasted on The Wall.

    Kishnevi (8f80b4)

  55. This is a math trick that is truly quite remarkable! It really works and only takes about ten seconds. Amazingly, It will reveal your all-time favorite movie.

    You can do it in your head, or on paper… find a calculator just to confirm your mathematical
    calculations if need be. When I tried it, I got the same answer, and sure enough, it is
    my very favorite movie, EVER!

    DO NOT cheat. DO YOUR math, THEN compare the results on the list
    of movies at the bottom. You will be truly amazed at how accurate this test is, every time!

    1. Pick a number from 1-9.

    2. Multiply that number by 3.

    3. Add 3.

    4 Multiply by 3 again.

    5. Your total will be a two digit number. Add the first and second digits
    together to find your favorite movie (of all time) in the list of 17 movies
    below:

    Movie List:

    1. Gone With the Wind
    2. E.T.
    3. Blazing Saddles
    4. Star Wars
    5. Forrest Gump
    6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    7. Jaws
    8. Grease
    9. The Nancy Pelosi Resignation Speech
    10. Casablanca
    11. Jurassic Park
    12. Shrek
    13. Pirates of the Caribbean
    14. Titanic
    15. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    16. Home Alone
    17. Mrs. Doubtfire

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. Colonel, you are funny!

    Simon Jester (2a02d5)

  57. I’m not sure if they expected Orange County to flip, or if it was a happy accident.

    A one-off, based entirely on the SALT hit which cost every GOP family money.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  58. Any number 1-10, multiplied by 9 will give you two digits which sum to 9.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  59. And what in the world are 2,8,11,12,13,16 or 17 doing on that list? For starters.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  60. I agree, your a funny man.

    mg (7e0e37)

  61. It may be time to use the 2nd amendment on those Bezerkley students who don’t believe in the 1st amendment.
    Cantafordya was a nice place, now its Americas no. 1 sh!t hole.

    mg (7e0e37)

  62. https://dailycaller.com/2019/02/21/clarence-thomas-sullivan-opinion/
    I’m with the Judge on this. Curious to what the lawyers here think.

    mg (7e0e37)

  63. Cantafordya – where male toxicity has become illegal.

    mg (7e0e37)

  64. No mention of the clawback threat yet? I think that is the best part.

    Xmas (e63a38)

  65. Military contractors regularly return over payments made by the government. There are government procedures to make sure it happens. Why should states get better treatment than military contractors?

    DRJ (15874d)

  66. Sad day, Narciso.

    mg (7e0e37)

  67. I’m not funny, but I have some funny friends…

    Kevin? Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  68. Lessons of teh week:
    1. if you’re going to commit a crime, don’t write a check
    2. Don’t direct your crime like a TV show
    3. Don’t rehearse your crime for the cameras

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  69. It was a wayan bros spec script when they should have Peele and other other guy

    Narciso (2171ef)

  70. As someone who was born and raised in Chowchilla, it is always strange to see our small town mentioned.

    kerryrynn (11e8a2)

  71. Last I heard of Chowchilla was when those young nuts buried the school bus back in the 70s

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  72. 4) pick some light-skinded brothers
    5) go for a two-fer and call local hip-hop icon Kanye West for some authentic red-pill swag

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  73. 6) don’t get the itemized receipt
    7) don’t ask for a light ass-kicking, upgrade to top shelf

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  74. Check the camera in question, seriously dont be Zak snyder.

    Narciso (2171ef)

  75. Colonel Haiku – you are correct – those were our kids on the bus. Chowchilla’s claim to fame.

    kerryrynn (11e8a2)

  76. That’s #8, narciso…

    9) don’t buy your rope, face masks,etc. from the same store…

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  77. 78… the perps were sons of a local wealthy family, IIRC…

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  78. “1. if you’re going to commit a crime, don’t write a check”

    He apparently pre-dated it to throw off the bulls, but it was out of date sequence to his other checks.

    He’s like Prof Moriarty Jr.

    harkin (e15868)

  79. Hate Crimes v2019.0… http://ace.mu.nu/archives/hate%20crimes%202019.jpg

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  80. As someone who was born and raised in Chowchilla, it is always strange to see our small town mentioned.

    I have a fondness for the Central Valley, and for small towns in general.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  81. Smollett’s out

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  82. … of a job

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  83. this is why you storyboard these things, first,

    https://streetwiseprofessor.com/maybe-we-should-have-bombed-them-more/

    narciso (d1f714)

  84. The ultimate Mack, right here!

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  85. I dont get it though, you would think Fox News and Fox Entertainment are of almost a diametrically differing mind on Smollett’s employment status, but the News side I guess would rather have a pinata to beat for 18 more months.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  86. What an idiot

    mg (93d2b1)

  87. 86… narciso, I guess the Germans can be trusted to be German

    Colonel Haiku (273e2b)

  88. well maybe not the Murdoch boys, they are more understanding of this behavior,

    narciso (d1f714)

  89. Pats owner just got his seventh ring.

    harkin (e15868)

  90. “… of a job”

    He’s already getting the public image rehab treatment. By springtime he’ll be a misunderstood artist who put everything on the line to expose the racism and homophobia of ‘Trump’s America’.

    By next fall he’ll probably be a guest host on SNL.

    harkin (e15868)

  91. He can always use the bipolar card like Kanye.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  92. Trump’s going after the remaining 2 billion and change already spent. Should be fun. Get your popcorn.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  93. Popcorn? What happened to the Virginia story?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  94. it turns out kraft is not merely the biggest fish, the former head of morgan Stanley, john havens was caught in the net,

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/02/21/irs-analyst-charged-michael-cohen/

    narciso (d1f714)

  95. CAHSR ignored France’s TGV operator’s recommendation to route HSR along the I-5 Easement for both the most direct route to LA from SF, but to speed its construction due to established easements already in place for the freeway and the CA water project.

    Of course, politics, unions, and buy-offs forced the included the central valley into the rail network. It was doomed before it started.

    Walter Horsting (2bc54e)


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