Fri, Jul

Jerry’s High Speed Rail: Another California Grand Scam

CERDAFIED - The biggest scams of all time are sold by politicians in the form of transit projects. This multi-billion dollar robbery is replicated over and over again across America and Americans are left paying the bill just so politicians can take pretty pictures of ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremonies.  

Then they scurry back to their alternate universe where it apparently makes sense to spend billions of tax payer dollars on unwanted and unneeded projects, as they’re slashing funding on our education system and other valuable programs, while at the same time trying to gather support for new taxes.

The newest scam is the high speed rail bill SB 1029. This 68 billion dollar fiasco is just in the early phases of ticking you off. Your senators approved this ill-timed and ill-conceived project with little forethought to our dire economic hardships. No doubt the builders will come in over budget and without the promised customer base. This is par for the course.

You would think the “budget minded” Governor Brown would be giving the thumbs down signal to the project, considering he wants a taxation based budget plan approved. But it appears the Governor wants these taxes to fund his pet projects, and your child’s education is not one of them.

Assemblyman Hagman stated in a press release, “It is projected that high speed rail would cost Californians between $330 million and $5 billion annually out of the general fund. That money should be used to fund our deteriorating public education system instead of being directed towards a boondoggle.”

Hagman was in good company.  Assemblymen David Valadao R-Hanford, Jim Nielsen R-Gerber, and Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia all expressed frustration at the lack of foresight and fiscal responsibility. These men know that they are obligated to look out for Californians who are losing their homes, jobs, and businesses. It is not lost on them that they are cutting essential services while voting on this contemptuous and extravagant bill SB 1029.

Councilman Larry Klein, Chair of the city's Rail Committee said, "This is a ridiculous, undemocratic process that we're going through. It's interesting to note that cities cannot do this. We'd be prohibited by the Brown Act from releasing something at midnight on July 3 and having a hearing on July 5 and voting on it on July 6." Indeed, this was one heck of a rush job, and the faster the rate of approval the more likely it is to be an expensive heaping pile of horse manure.

The bill authorized $3.9 billion for rail construction from the 2008, voter authorized, $9 billion bond for high-speed rail. The "Initial Operating Segment" of the line between Merced and the San Fernando Valley would cost $2.6 billion. It includes $129.1 million for property purchases from San Jose to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Los Angeles

The rail plan calls for high-speed rail and Caltrain to share two tracks between San Jose and San Francisco, instead of the initial plan for a four-track rail.

The project's critics are concerned about the California High-Speed Rail Authority's unrealistic ridership projections. Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) and the Institute for Transportation Studies at U.C. Berkeley have both questioned the methodology used to come up with its projections.

Senate Bill 1029 requires a new business plan to be submitted by January 2014 that includes "benefit-cost analysis as applied to future project decisions."

California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Chair Dan Richard released a statement:

“Today’s vote to commence high-speed rail construction, like all major public policy decisions, is the result of hard work and collaborative effort.  Credit must go to Governor Brown whose courage and steadfast leadership has improved the High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans and operations,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority Chair Dan Richard.

Richard continued, “We also express deep gratitude to Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for passing this measure through their houses. The Legislature’s action sets in motion a Statewide Rail Modernization Plan for California.

“Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level. This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions, and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness.”

The discredit goes to Governor Brown, and every aye voter who not only betrayed their constituents but betrayed generations of their owned tax enslaved family members.

This new system will play havoc with existing bus way systems and will create more traffic by delaying the flow of traffic at train intersections.  We are quite aware of the tactics being used by transit planners to push drivers into mass transit, but we are also aware that all existing systems across America is in dire shape; from our bridges to our overpasses and underpasses, from our train stations and rail roads, our subways to roads and streets.

We know the Federal government neglects EVERYTHING in the name of war costs, and that hasn’t changed in decades. The Feds have proven that they will mismanage our money, our infrastructure, and our environment, and because of that, we are not willing to rely on a new system surrounded by a landscape of decaying systems. If you want the public trust back, earn it! Neglect your bombs and support your people.

What the FATHER (fed) has done the SON (state) has duplicated. Taxpayers are seen as an endless source, but we are not. Your decisions cost us our homes, your decisions cost us our jobs, and your decisions has cost us our businesses. Our graduating college students are debt ridden and without opportunity and many are taking their lives because they don’t see a way out. Your tax payers are in the streets picketing and they are just warming up.  Each day you give them one more reason to evict you from your gilded cage.

(Lisa Cerda is a contributor to CityWatch, a community activist, Chair of Tarzana Residents Against Poorly Planned Development, and former Tarzana Neighborhood Council board member.) –cw

Tags: Lisa Cerda, Senate Bill 1029, high speed rail, Governor Brown

Vol 10 Issue 55
Pub: July 10, 2012