Jan
27
2013

Anticipating the upcoming Great California High-Speed Rail Disaster of 2013+.

“+” because this is going to crash and burn for years.

Let me summarize this LA Times article discussing the looming …singularity… of fiscal destruction.

  • California wants a high-speed rail system which will apparently solve all of their problems (“Then why don’t they have one, already?”  “Because shut up, that’s why”).
  • This is scheduled to cost 68 Billion dollars.  $68,000,000,000.
  • It will cost more.
  • Meanwhile, the state is deep in debt – and it’s an open question whether Jerry Brown and his Merry Band of Democrats have actually managed to stabilize revenues.
  • For example, I am waiting (with more than a little morbid curiosity) to see what California’s actual 1Q 2012 tax revenues are like.  I suspect that they’re going to be… memorable.
  • But let’s get back to the high-speed rail.  It’s not built yet.
  • That’s fine; construction isn’t supposed to start for another six months…
  • Oh, wait, not all of the land for the railway has been purchased, yet.
  • Oh, wait, none of the land for the railway has been purchased, yet.
  • Which is why the start of construction has already been delayed.

This is the part from the LA Times that I want to quote:

The land purchases are waiting on the hiring of a team of specialized contractors, but they cannot start their work until the rail agency gets approval from another branch of the state bureaucracy. About 400 parcels are needed for the first construction segment, a 29-mile stretch from Madera to Fresno.

The formal offers will start an eminent domain action, the legal process for seizing land from private owners. The owners have 30 days to consider the offer, and then the state must go through a series of steps that can add 100 more days of appeals and hearings, assuming the state can get on the court calendar, according to Robert Wilkinson, an eminent domain litigator in Fresno. If the state fails to convince a judge that a quick takeover of property is justified, formal trials could stretch on for 18 months, he added.

“I would think a lot of these are going to end up in litigation,” he said. “It is a tight schedule, no question about it.”

But wait, there’s more!

  • Agricultural land – which would generally be a good choice for eminent domain, on the principle that nobody’s living there (thus making the whole thing look better for the cameras) – has risen in value quicker than the state of California has expected.
  • But the state of California can’t just arbitrarily raise their eminent domain offer in response.  There are rules.  Dear God in Heaven, but there are rules.
  • And, of course, there are lawsuits pending, permissions required on the both the state and federal level, and a general hurry-up-hurry-up-hurry-up stance being taken by the Obama administration on getting this program on the ground and choo-chooing with all due speed.  Because Barack Obama doesn’t live in California, and he doesn’t really care what their problems are.

In short: when this thing blows up in the California legislature’s and governor’s faces, feel the warmth of knowing that you were told, six months or so before anybody else, that the entire thing was going to collapse in a hot mess of red tape and unpaid bills.  Unless you live in California: then you have my sympathies.  I have zero desire to pay for this disaster, but sympathy is still free.  Well, at least until the California legislature manages to slap a tax on that.

(H/T: Hot Air Headlines)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: It may seem cruel to openly display the schadenfreude on this one; but then, the California electorate presumably knew what it was up to when they elected these bozos.  Also, to quote the classics: “Fragile things, dropped from a great height, make a nice sound.”

16 Comments

  • Catseyes says:

    Not to mention a loud one that may echo thru the years.

  • Jaby says:

    I know a realtor whose son is surveying for this. According to him, *every* property along the path is now planted with very young piscachio orchards. These nuts are currently getting insane prices, and the trees last ~40 years. My assumption is that they hope for the net present value of the future orchard returns when the imminent domain folks come a-calling.

    Clever folks! Stick it to the state!

    Oh, wait. I’m a taxpayer.

  • qixlqatl says:

    Yeah, this has all the earmarks of WMD grade Charlie Foxtrot all over it, and has from it’s very conception. I saw a projection somewhere of what the actual cost to build the damn thing should be (I think 40%-60% higher than the states estimates, iirc?), and that doesn’t include the inevitable corruption that will go along with the construction contracts. It will wind up costing 3 times what was originally estimated.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      One wonders where they think that the money will come from.

      And before you say “Us:” it is highly unlikely that the thing will be completed before a Republican is in the White House again. It is not entirely certain that the thing will be begun before then, either.

      • qixlqatl says:

        “Think”, Moe? They do not “think” where the money will come from at all; they feel that the project will be beneficial (somehow), therefore money.

  • Herp McDerp says:

    UNEXPECTEDLY!

  • Nancylee says:

    I live in California and I don’t want sympathy. I voted against this monstrosity, and I will laugh harshly when it implodes on our nitwit legislature.

    You can’t cure stupid.

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    Not to mention getting environmental clearance for the route. What are the odds that someone finds some worthless species ready to succumb to evolution along the right of way?

  • Spegen says:

    Goes well with Victor Hansen’s continued reporting on the collapse of California. Its amazing how a place so blessed with resources and wealth could collapse so quickly.

  • BigGator5 says:

    It’s like a slow moving train wreck. *rimshot*

  • jbird says:

    They should have gone with a monorail. As they say, “You know, a town with money is a little like the mule with the spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.”

    • jbird says:

      I expect the high speed rail project to be followed up by a popsicle stick skyscraper, and that 50 ft magnifying glass, and the escalator to nowhere.

  • Darin_H says:

    To quote another classic, “f&%^ing California”

  • Rusty S. says:

    The only way this could be funnier is if we found out the railroad’s going through Rock Ridge.

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