Progressives are being forced to eat a lot of crow this Thanksgiving.

At the national level, Obamacare is being plucked apart in the media.  In California, a touchstone of liberal green dreams and one of the state’s biggest turkeys is being thrown under the bus by a Sacramento judge.

In a major legal blow to the California bullet train, a Sacramento judge ruled that state officials cannot pursue their plan to tap billions of dollars in voter-approved bond funding for construction, a decision that could cause indefinite delays in the massive $68-billion project.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, ruling Monday in two closely watched cases, found the state officials made key errors and failed to comply with legal requirements as they moved the project toward a long-awaited groundbreaking.

The decisions don’t immediately halt the project, but they have thrown its future into doubt and could sharply curtail the state’s ability to fund a complete high-speed rail system. State officials said they were assessing their options and exploring ways to keep the project moving ahead.

And while the Tea Party was not formed until 2009, many stalwarts of the current citizens movement fought against the High Speed Rail measure in 2008 (e.g., Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, California Taxpayer Protection Committee, and the Libertarian Party). The arguments against the measure included that it would have enormous cost overruns and damage the environment.  However, as conservative pundit Chris Reed notes in this video, the proposition was well crafted and had solid taxpayer protections that just saved Californians from their bond addiction.

The judge relied on two of those protections: The first 300 miles had to be fully funded without relying on federal dollars and that proper environmental reviews be completed. Since it has taken the state 5 years to do the environmental work for the first 28 miles of track, speedy progress on the remaining areas is not likely to occur.

San Diego blogger Dean Riehm has been following the high speed rail drama since the beginning.  He offers this assessment of the project’s likely future.

This may not be a death blow but these two rulings definitely put high-speed choos on the ropes. And there may not ever be a death blow, per se, rather death by a million cuts.

…Brown’s in-state allies and the statist acolytes both in California and across this country are playing a waiting game and hoping to establish just enough forward momentum and progress that the project becomes terminal and can no longer be walked away from regardless of the absolute financial black hole it becomes… and it will.

Short of a radical re-structuring of the current one-party rule that currently exists in California, count on Cali’s high-speed choo-choos to be far and away the most disastrous public works program this country has ever seen. In a sense, it already is.


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