Image 01 Image 03

California High Speed Rail: Dead or just near death?

California High Speed Rail: Dead or just near death?

high speed rail connecting Northern and Southern California has long been in the works: plans were proposed by Governer Jerry Brown back in the 1980s, and the High Speed Rail Authority was founded in 1996.

Nevertheless, recent changes in the political landscape could see the project grind to a halt.

Most influential is the increasingly likely ascent of Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to House Majority Leadership: after current Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary just last week and Pete Sessions (R-TX) dropped out of the race to succeed him, he is the only candidate left standing.

McCarthy has been one of California’s most vocal critics of the high speed rail, so his rise in influence could be the funeral toll of the project, which currently relies heavily — nay, almost entirely — on federal funding (according to Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), California has not received any state or private funding for the project.)

McCarthy’s rise may also mean more funding and support thrown to Republican challengers in the California House Elections, including Doug Ose (CA-07), Carl DeMaio (CA-52), and Tony Strickland (CA-25), McCarthy’s protege and another strong opponent of the almost exclusively Democrat-supported rail.

However, Republicans are not the only ones fighting the rail: in a recent vote, four California Democrats — including Doug Ose’s opponent in the 7th District, Ami Bera — withdrew their support from the project. The vote in question was for an amendment to an appropriations bill which would prevent any of the funds appropriated from going to the rail project. The bill passed with the amendment 227-186.

The high speed rail project has been on a decline since it was allocated $9 billion in borrowed funding by Proposition 1A in 2008. The cost of the rail — which would purportedly travel from Los Angeles to San Fransisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes and was projected to have between 65.5 and 96.5 million riders by 2030 — was then estimated to be $33 billion.

Since then, every one of those numbers has been called into question:

  • The 2 hour and 40 minute trip will take nearly half an hour longer on regular schedule trips.
  • 65.5 million riders? More like 31.1 million. And that’s the high end of the estimate.
  • Projected costs have since doubled to $68 billion.

This is not what the California voters said they wanted back in 2008, and it shows: as of 2013, only 43% of Californians support the high speed rail, a marked drop from the 53% that voted to pass Prop. 1A. If Democrats continue to withdraw their support, Jerry Brown will eventually be the only one holding it up.

And then it will topple.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



“Nearly dead means a little alive.”
Since the whole point is an exercise in graft and corruption and has nothing to do with reality this isn’t really dead. There’s money in them there hills.

I R A Darth Aggie | June 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

Just mostly dead.

NC Mountain Girl | June 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

Trust the left to be pushing a project that was cutting edge back when Sister Mary Joseph was making me memorize multiplication tables,

It’s worse than that. The train will take 5 hours minimum because of the Tehachapi Mountains where it either has to go up through the Grapevine pass (and slow down to 50 mph to do so) or go around taking 2 more hours. Then it will hit the city and have a terminal before housing gets dense, which means you’ll still be an hour away from Los Angeles or San Francisco proper by normal transit.

That’s six hours. Guess how long it takes to drive? Six hours.

Moonbeam will keep pushing hit idiotic high speed fail project for as long as he can scrounge tax dollars for it, from whatever source.

those union goons have got to get their money after all.

and everyone wonders why i call this state #Failifornia.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to redc1c4. | June 20, 2014 at 1:27 am

    I lived my entire life in CA until 2.5 years ago when my hubby and I bailed. “Failifornia” is a gross understatement. It is a Gestapo state, plain and simple, greedy and brutal. It was once a magnificent paradise, unsurpassed in productivity, freedom, innovation, education, and general quality of life.

    The Folly Trolley was pushed by legislators hoping for a free and furious ride between their L.A. and S.F cocktail parties, the environazis and their millionaire friends, and easily persuaded college morons who thought it was a “like cool” idea, dude, ‘cuz it’s like, you know, high-tech and stuff. Blacks and immigrants voted for it, too, because their ‘rat plantation masters told them they should. It still didn’t pass by much.

    The dwindling middle-class of the state saw it for what it is. Maybe the good guys will win in the end, at least this time, at least on this. I wish them well.

Mike Royko was right.

This should be called the Moonliner.