Cap and ‘Train’ Leaves the Station

JAN. 31, 2012

By WAYNE LUSVARDI

Gov. Jerry Brown just proposed a new idea for financing California’s $100 billion high-speed rail project: Use the fees from the state’s Cap and Trade emission taxation program to fund it.

This new hybrid between Cap and Trade and High-Speed Rail is likely to be dubbed “Cap ‘N Train.”

What this new proposal would do is transfer billions of dollars in higher costs for everything in California that has to be manufactured or trucked anywhere, thus creating air emissions. In turn, these higher costs will be transferred to an unproductive train project that will take riders away from commercial airlines serving the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

High-Speed Rail is Redevelopment in Another Guise

Brown has recently gotten some respect from political conservatives and school-funding advocates for shutting down redevelopment agencies because they rob schools of property taxes.  But it is apparently OK to create yet another redevelopment project because it won’t drain the state budget needed for public schools.  What Jerry Brown’s right hand takes away, his left hand re-creates in another form.  This proves the principle of California bureaucracy: “Problems can’t be solved — just shifted around.”

Brown is reportedly trying to sell his High-Speed Rail project to the skeptical Legislature. Earlier this month, Brown floated an idea to use $1 billion in Cap and Trade taxes to plug his state budget deficit.  But $1 billion yearly at today’s bond interest rates would only finance about $20 billion of the estimated $100 billion needed for the High-Speed Rail project.  Rider fees on the new train would not come anywhere near paying for the system.

Brown said that if the Legislature didn’t approve his proposal there “always would be the ballot initiative” route to financing the High-Speed Rail.  Brown was apparently referring to Proposition 71, which financed $3 billion in redundant stem-cell research. The cost to pay back those bonds, with interest, is $6 billion.

Using Ballot Initiative to Grow Stem Cells and Fast Trains

The state’s stem cell agency — with the private sounding title of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine — is soliciting public comments for the idea to come back to the voters to ask for another $3 billion in bond financing in 2014 when their current funds run out.  As reported by Wesley J. Smith at the “Secondhand Smoke” blog, thus far only those who have received grants for stem-cell research have been added to the list of witnesses.

The way things are going, we could call all those proponents of using Cap and Trade taxes for High-Speed Rail the “High-Speed Freeriders”: those enjoying the benefits from a collective effort but contributing little or nothing to it.

 

6 comments

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  1. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 31 January, 2012, 09:53

    Both the train drain and cap and trade are wild radical and far left ideas that have no business in main stream california life.

    Reply this comment
  2. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 31 January, 2012, 15:20

    Here we see madness justifying and paying for further madness.

    My head hurts.

    Reply this comment
  3. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 31 January, 2012, 15:24

    Note that a recent Huffington Post article on this topic included a poll where 71% of their liberal readership voted to end the CA HSR project.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/no-train-please-act_n_1235275.html

    Reply this comment
  4. Davide Florez
    Davide Florez 31 January, 2012, 18:28

    Anyone see the connection(s) between the overbloated CA high speed train to nowhere boondoggle, and today’s announcement from CA Controller John Chiang that CA is broke and running out of money by March, and will start issuing IOU’s again in March 2012, instead of the CA tax refund checks that they are required to mail out on time? Anyone see any connections?

    State controller: California is running out of cash – Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
    Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/31/BAHF1N0VMH.DTL&tsp=1

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 31 January, 2012, 19:30

    Anyone see the connection(s) between the overbloated CA high speed train to nowhere boondoggle, and today’s announcement from CA Controller John Chiang that CA is broke and running out of money by March, and will start issuing IOU’s again in March 2012, instead of the CA tax refund checks that they are required to mail out on time? Anyone see any connections?

    What, you didn’t hear Jerry Clown proclaim we have a “bright” future? :)

    Reply this comment
  6. queeg
    queeg 2 February, 2012, 10:08

    As long as Democrats run everything you will see financial mayhem, chronism, assualt on private assets and personal freedoms….

    It is beyond comical…the Gray guy….the Austrian socialist….a career government guy with a cute doggie!

    Reply this comment

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