In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.
What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at up to 110 mph in large sections of the rail and 1/3 or the track will have speed restrictions, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033 (unlikely by their own admission).
With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.
The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.
The only way they can keep the cost down is to stop spending $3.1 million a day and increase spending by 900% and spend 27 million dollars a day.
Prop 1A stated that we would only be paying only 1/3 of the original estimate of $35 billion HSR project. Now we are paying 100%. Thus it is in clear violation of the funding parameters of Prop 1A. This project should not be funded, and the current Controller should immediately hold payment until it complies with Prop 1A.
This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.
A train ticket that will cost more than a plane ticket from LAX to San Francisco. A train so slow that it would be faster to fly round trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco than a one way trip on the so-called High-Speed Rail.
This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped.
As California’s next State Controller and Chief Taxpayer Watchdog, I will defund this project on day one. If we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and therefore I will hold funds until this project complies with the Proposition 1A.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to waste.