High-speed rail advocates are on edge as the governor and the state Legislature squabble over where to spend the high-speed rail project’s remaining bond money.
Advocates say the delays in funding are feeding into the notion that the project is taking too long and harming public support. They are right to be worried. A recent poll from Goodwin Simon Strategic Research showed that more Californians support ending construction on the project than support continuing it.
But advocates have it backward. It isn’t the uncertainty in funding that is causing diminishing support, it’s that Californians are aware of the magnitude of the scam.
In 2008 voters approved almost $10 billion in general obligation bonds, including $9 billion for the initial planning and construction of an 800-mile high-speed rail system that would travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a little over two hours.
A 2008 study sponsored by the Reason Foundation and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation predicted that the promised total cost of $45 billion would quickly turn into $100 billion or more. “There are no genuine financial projections that indicate there will be sufficient funds,” the authors wrote.
However, the campaign for passage focused on the promise of that jaunt between Los Angeles and San Francisco, making the project look like a Ferrari at the cost of a used Ford Pinto.
We hate to say, “We told you so,” but exactly what we predicted has…