‘PROGRESSIVE’ PRIORITIES: California Wastes BILLIONS On Rail, Neglects Safety

Written by Andrew Allen on February 27, 2017

California is a left-leaning state. As such, it should come as no surprise that California is home to one of the biggest examples of liberal idiocy we’ve seen in a long while.

Caught Between a Train and A Dam

I lived in California from 2005 to 2016. I was there when California liberals believed that a high-speed rail link among Los Angeles to San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas made sense. I was among the first to explain why the project was doomed from the start.

California environmental regulations and the red-on-the-inside-green-on-the-outside-watermelon left-wingers that want more of them will never allow rail to be built across California’s mountains and deserts.

All those environmental regulations make it absurdly expensive to build anything in California anymore. All those watermelons only make it worse.

About a decade ago it cost around $800 merely to pay for the permits required to use a backhoe on a construction site where I lived in California. Around the same time, a half-finished public school that would have served primarily underprivileged children of color sat empty with all work on the site halted because activists discovered an insect with a lifespan of three days living in puddles on the prospective school’s grounds.

Even if cost and regulations weren’t a problem, the ridiculousness of a commuter rail network as proposed by Governor Moonbeam Brown was obvious. Brown might have promised that Californians “would once again ride the rails” as if turning back the clock to 1920s-era technology was a good thing. But why would anyone ride rail – high-speed or otherwise – when flights between Los Angeles and San Diego, San Francisco, and Las Vegas take less than the three hours high-speed rail would require, and when flights make the trip far cheaper than train-fare?

It should go without saying that the “high-speed” part of the rail project was dropped early on. That should have been the first canary in the coal mine that stopped tweeting thus giving everyone pause.

Liberals are know-it-alls though, so even as California’s conservatives brought up all these points and more, the state snatched up a couple billion dollars or so in Obama’s “shovel ready” stimulus money and dove head first into a not so high-speed rail project.


“Shovel ready” is a phrase that could have been applied to the massive dam in Oroville, California that is currently damaged and threatening to flood out around 188,000 prospective, not-so-high-speed-rail-riding Californians.

Latest repair and recovery cost estimates for the Oroville Dam are around $600 million – a massive sum of money but one that is still a fraction of the tens of billions California liberals insist be spent to turn back the clock so that Californians may once again ride the rails. At three times the per ticket cost of a commuter flight that gets to its destination hours ahead of the train.

For people so keen on Keynesian spending for massive infrastructure projects, how is it they never put two and two together and fixed the Oroville Dam? Whether rail was given a higher priority than the dam because of ideology or collusion between California Democrats and business interests is debatable. What’s certain is that it takes a special brand of stupid to let a dam burst and dither about it while pumping billions into a rail project that to date goes nowhere.

Image: By California High-Speed Rail Authority – extracted from the pdt at http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/assets/0/81/214/05a9fb13-15de-4044-9f9b-c05cbb06dacb.pdf, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21042375

Share if you agree this high speed rail project is a waste and distraction for California.

Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen (@aandrewallen) grew up in the American southeast and for more than two decades has worked as an information technoloigies professional in various locations around the globe. A former far-left activist, Allen became a conservative in the late 1990s following a lengthy period spent questioning his own worldview. When not working IT-related issues or traveling, Andrew Allen spends his time discovering new ways to bring the pain by exposing the idiocy of liberals and their ideology.