House GOP whip: Folly to expect fed $ for bullet train

train_wreck_num_2April 12, 2013

By Chris Reed

There’s a double-whammy targeting the bullet train on the op-ed page of Friday’s U-T San Diego newspaper.

First House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, tees off on the state’s assumption that federal dollars will cover most of the cost of the project.

“CHSRA’s reliance on additional dollars from a cash-strapped federal government nearly $17 trillion in debt is naive and misguided at best. As GAO correctly concluded, ‘HSIPR grant program has not received funding since 2010 and that the future funding proposals will likely be met with continued concern about the general level of federal spending, the largest block of expected money for the California project is uncertain.’

“And that’s not even the whole story. The plan still depends on $13 billion from private investment – not a single dollar of which has been committed. This is assuming the $68.4 billion price tag remains unchanged, which is questionable since GAO found that CHSRA’s project plan lacked detail about risk assessment and post-construction costs of running the rail, noting the omissions could lead to ‘increased risk of such things as cost overruns, missed deadlines, and unmet performance targets.’”

Think tank: Ridership numbers still grossly exaggerated

Then Reason Foundation’s Wendell Cox and Joseph Vranich take a close look at the rail authority’s number-crunching and find some huge problems.

“CHSRA claims that most train riders will be attracted from their cars. However, driving with the family or even driving alone will be less expensive than taking the train. In Europe, despite gasoline prices that hover between $8 and $9 per gallon, relatively small numbers of drivers choose high-speed rail over their cars. Based upon the international experience in luring drivers out of their cars and onto trains, we project that the California rail system’s ridership will fall 65 percent to 77 percent short of CHSRA’s claims.

“With far fewer passengers, and not enough ticket revenue, someone else will have to pay to keep the trains running – the taxpayers of California. It will likely cost taxpayers between $125 million and $375 million each year to cover the train’s operating losses.”

What a bekerja tanpa bagaimanakah.

That’s the Malay term for “boondoggle.”

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