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California’s Bullet Train may have received final, fatal fiscal hit

California’s Bullet Train may have received final, fatal fiscal hit

The state’s cap-and-trade auction, the only ongoing funding source, is a complete washout.

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Newsroom/Multimedia/images.html

A few, short weeks ago, I reported that President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation halted the transfer of millions of dollars in funding for the California bullet train, our governor’s legacy project.

However, those monies were not the sole source of funding. The main source of ongoing support for the train is the income from the cap-and-trade auctions that California sponsors.

It appears as if the all the air (carbon dioxide included) has gone out of the cap-and-trade market:

Just hours before the report was issued, results of the state’s latest cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances – the only source of ongoing bullet train funds – were released and once again it produced almost no money.

…A $9.95 billion bond issue that voters approved nine years ago was on hold for years because of lawsuits, and project managers have searched, so far in vain, for other sources of money for the $64 billion project.

In desperation, Brown and the Legislature gave the project 25 percent of cap-and-trade auction proceeds, and officials have been weighing a construction loan secured by auction money. However, recent auctions have generated very scant returns, and without a reliable revenue stream, securing a loan would be impossible.

The plunge in auction interest has been attributed to a glut of state-issued allowances and uncertainty about the program’s legality and future. Brown wants the Legislature to reauthorize it beyond the current 2020 expiration date, but so far has been unable to muster enough votes.

I would like our Legal Insurrection readers to consider that the California cap-and-trade was installed as part of the 2006 “Global Warming Solutions Act”. A little more than 10 years later, the set-up is failing spectacularly.

Former President Barack Obama was planning to install a similar system with his “Clean Power Plan“. President Trump has derailed these regulations entirely.

Elections have consequences…and, when we look back in a few years, these may be among the most significant for Trump’s presidency.

The state’s cap-and-trade washout has left the train project fiscally stranded, especially after the termination of the grant money. Not surprisingly, the bureaucrats in charge of the bullet train construction are a wee bit upset at the Republican congressional delegation from California, who prepared a letter requesting that President Trump nix the grant money that was fueling the project.

The state’s high-speed rail authority board verbally assaulted the state’s Republican House delegation Wednesday, blaming it for the delay of a grant that would have benefited California’s bullet train project.

The commentary came at a rail authority board meeting, where members sharply criticized a letter by California’s 14 Republican congressmen that asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to withhold a $647-million grant until a financial audit of the bullet train project can be conducted.

…“This was an unbelievable, irresponsible act on the part of these members of Congress,” said rail authority board Chairman Dan Richard.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, Richard said the Republican letter was based on “matters that were demonstrably untrue.”

The Republican members, he said, “acted against the interests of their own constituents. It is shocking to me.”

In fact, the Republican congressional members are acting in the best interest of the state’s voters who are now clamoring for infrastructure funding be directed toward the repair of dams and roads. After contending with the Oroville Dam crisis, California water officials have recently discovered damage at another key state reservoir.

If the bullet train is derailed because of the failure of a key aspect of the “Global Warming Solutions Act”, it would mean its trip to Karma is complete.

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Comments

cant wait til CA secedes so that they can learn how ‘free’ they are to pay for their own failures… as they should….

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to jmt9455. | March 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Agreed!

    This could not have happened to a more appropriate “criminal state” could it.

    KKKalifornia!

If Cali seceded either the government would quickly straighten out or there would be a coup and all the crazies would be cleared out.

There is just too much real money in California. They only let Sactown and local government go crazy because they know the US government will rein them in and limit their worst behavior.

buckeyeminuteman | March 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm

The truth is that Americans don’t like trains and we don’t want trains. Our towns are not set up like old Europe’s. Urban sprawl has spread shopping and living centers out from the centers of cities. Our cars get us where we need when we need. Even if we traded our love of interstates for rail, you’d still need a car to get around your destination.

    Roy in Nipomo in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | March 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Private vehicles allow us to go when we want, where we want and with as little or as much preparation as we want. The same can’t be said for mass transit.

Good news but forgive me if I hold off on the Champagne. Killing this boondoggle reminds me of the original Terminator movie where every time you thought the killing machine was dead it would rise up and continue on it’s programmed mission. “The Progs can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until their train is finished”.

    Tom Servo in reply to Mojo56. | March 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I agree with you for the most part – except that I suspect that this time they really have run out of other people’s money.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Mojo56. | March 20, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    You must be thinking of that movie line
    “I’ll be back!”

“The Republican members, he said, “acted against the interests of their own constituents. It is shocking to me.”

Translation: Hey! My pay comes out of that money! Give it!

Another Voice | March 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

As another deep in the “blue” state as is New York, we in rural Upstate New York hold a very deep “red” stronghold and convictions on how and where our tax dollars are spent. I penned this Op/Ed piece back in early February. There is a vast difference of priorities held by the elites in government and the folks who pay the bills to receive those services. I’m totally in empathy with residents of California who have been cast offs by their elected.

In Support of President Trump

In this week’s headlines: President Trump denies California Gov. Brown a Declaration of Major Disaster Status yet qualifying it for funding status defaulting to FEMA Emergency Relief until such time an assessment as a Major Disaster develops at the Oroville Dam Breach. To hear the opposition of the Nancy Pelosi Democratic crowd, one would think it was an act of treason with Cong. Waters asking for impeachment.

Critics of Pres. Trump should recall the days after the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion on April 17, 2013 with the immediate loss of 15 lives and which severely damaged or destroyed infrastructure of water, sewer, gas, streets, buildings and schools, President Obama declared a Major Disaster Declaration statement to Gov. Rick Perry that local government will be eligible to receive federal funding for a town that vowed to do “whatever they have to do to rebuild”. Two months later FEMA taking liberty or perhaps directive, reversed the presidential Major Disaster Declaration and informed Gov. Perry it would not provide any but Emergency Relief of support initially given, stating in a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “the impact from this event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a Major Disaster” and contrary to the earlier assessment left it to the peoples, local and state government to do the major heavy lift to keep the Town of West viable. Gov. Perry was forced into taking a legal appeals process to have Pres. Obama re-instate the original assessment declaring again West, Texas a Major Disaster area entitled to the aid it provides.

While Texas was put on hold for over four months, Gov. Brown is immediately challenging Pres. Trump on his call of not categorizing the crisis as a Major Disaster but giving it deferred status until assessment of damages and harm at the Oroville Dam site can be made. Granted Gov. Brown is looking at a severe crisis of a Dam breach but currently it remains a situation without the ability to assess property damages or any loss of life. FEMA is on site giving required and necessary Emergency Assistance. Approval for a Major Disaster required by law to stay at the Federal level, Pres. Trump. California is currently and hopefully remains at FEMA Emergency Status giving Gov. Brown opportunity to reverse the 15 years of neglected maintenance and make recommended corrections within his State budget to fix it.

And on more to the point, seven years ago, California approved a project dedicating $9.5 Billion state tax dollars with a commitment by Pres. Obama of Federal tax dollars to construct a high speed “Bullet Train” system. The cost to complete is now low-balled at $68 Billion up from an original $33 Billion. As of December 2016, Californians are on the hook for $15 Billion of spent funds up and above the original $9.5 Billion and were recently denied a Federal Loan as well as a Performance Continuance Extension by our new administrations. To date they have received Federal Funding of $3.5 Billion due to the results of delayed construction start. In seven years they have yet to lay down one mile of a 700 mile track system. It appears Democrat controlled California and New York States Republican Counties suffer the same neglect when you compare the considerations given to the neglect of California Upstate Oroville in a rural Republican Butte County and the same neglect suffered in Upstate New York Hoosick Falls contaminated water supply in Republican Rennsalear County.

    SeniorD in reply to Another Voice. | March 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I lived but 5 miles from the explosion. I heard it, felt it rattle the windows and scared my pups. Rescuers were on the scene w/in minutes and the citizens of West (I lived in Hillsboro) responded as Texans always do. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

The only way a ‘Bullet Train’ makes any sense is if it crossed the entire country. The use of magnetic levitation (maglev) would not only provide means for interstate travel, it would also reduce the specious carbon footprint of airlines and automobiles.

Of course, such forward thinking would never come to fruition as all sorts of eco-nuts, real estate holders, farmers, etc. would block such action.

    ConradCA in reply to SeniorD. | March 21, 2017 at 3:37 am

    The slow train to no where is going to cost $100 million per mile. That means crossing the whole country would be $500 billion.

“… matters that were demonstrably untrue.”

So, was this untruthfulness actually demonstrated?

I suspect “demonstrably” is the new “literally” … the latest perfectly good English word to be debased into meaninglessness by the six-year-olds.

I ain’t shedding any tears for Dan Richards or the High Speed Rail Board. The bullet train is slated to go behind my house in south San Jose. Where I live the current preferred proposal is to have double tracks on a viaduct (their language) from 60 – 120 feet in the air (probably around 100′ high at my house), going every 8 minutes at 150 mph from 5 am to 1 am whether there are any passengers or not. What’s not to like?

Insufficiently Sensitive | March 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm

acted against the interests of their own constituents

What a cynically corrupt reading of democracy by the Dems who wrote that line. Instead of representing ALL the people of California, as their office is supposed to do, the majority Democrats feel that ALL constituents must be loyal to them in all matter, whether or not they actually voted for and elected Republicans.

Didn’t the California voters reject the bullet train but Brown went ahead with the planning anyway?

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