Monday, March 12, 2018

Learning from California

"Heads up folks! Spending money on trains is about as productive as buying lotto cards down at the 7-11."    

When the kids were younger, we would often would tell them you can learn as much from a bad example as you can from a good one. Using that same thinking today, I think Minnesota (as well as many other parts of the country), can learn from California. In particular, this boondoggle of a train system they are trying to build between LA and SFO.

Wait a minute! What train system? What happened to I-5, or flying between those two cities? Oh, you can still travel that way. And the travel time on I-5 is about 5 1/2 hours with light traffic and 7 hours with heavier traffic. The travel time using this new, yet to be built "bullet train", is projected to about 3 hours or so. The good people of California fell for the snake oil salesman back in 2008 and voted to build this needless thing. It would be done in the mid 2020's, and cost about $40B. Okay - full steam ahead!

What the planners really wanted, was to have at least the first section of track open for business between San Francisco and Bakersfield. And they wanted it done soon. Why? Housing. San Francisco is imploding from not enough even semi-affordable housing - that is, unless you are a multi-millionaire, like Nancy Pelosi. The thought was, get this train running our to the cheaper lands of Central California first, before it dog legs south and then on to LA. Then people could live in Modesto (Ever been to Modesto? Yuck!), and work in SFO. Problem solved!

Hold the phone! I know this has never happened in the history of man, but the initial estimates were off. The leg from SFO and Bakersfield will now not be done until 2029 (at the earliest). The completed route down to LA will not be done until 2033 (at the earliest). The new estimated price tag has about doubled in size, to $77B. Here is the show stopper -some are estimating the final cost could be closer to $100B. 

Currently, California (a state plagued by massive "Blue Wave" debt), has no clue where the rest of the money is going to come from. How about Washington? Use the excellent relationship that exists between California and the President (sarcasm included). Actually one of the rare Republican lawmakers who still calls California home, suggested maybe the state should cut their loses, abandon the project, and use the un-allocated monies to build more lanes on I-5. Brilliant! 

Until the statists in California can figure their way out of this multi billion dollar mess, the rest of the nation can use this as a "teachable moment". Especially Minnesota, where corrupt politicians are STILL trying to breathe life into the "casino train", running from Minneapolis to Duluth.

Heads up folks! Spending money on trains is about as productive as buying lotto cards down at the 7-11. The smart money still is put into lanes, and not trains.   


  1. Dedicated lanes for driverless vehicles.

  2. House Russian probe to end without consensus! Good. Partisan b.s.

  3. I once did the calculation, and for the construction cost of the first LRT line, we could have added two lanes to every freeway in the metro. Or offered a chauffered limo to every rider.

  4. We will all have driverless/smart cars/smart highways before the bonds for LRT are paid for, and that will basically double the capacity of our existing freeways at NO added cost to the taxpayer.