Bullet-train blog urges $29B in new CA taxes to save project

Bullet-train blog urges $29B in new CA taxes to save project

train_wreck_num_2-203x300These are melancholy and bitter times for the California High Speed Rail Blog. Overseer Robert Cruickshank has reacted to Judge Michael Kenny’s rulings blocking the project by decrying the taxpayer protections in the 2008 ballot measure authorizing $9.95 billion in bond funds for a statewide bullet-train system:

“Prop 1A’s flaws include the ban on operating subsidies and the requirement that all funding be identified before construction on a segment begins, as well as the smaller size of the overall bond authorization.”

Cruickshank never acknowledges that it is only because of these taxpayer protections that the project narrowly passed. Meanwhile, in the comment sections, posters angrily trash Judge Kenny’s ruling, ignoring the fact that at the November “remedies” hearing, the state Attorney General’s Office didn’t dispute his conclusion that the project didn’t have close to adequate financing or environmental reviews to begin construction.

But it seems to be sinking in with Cruickshank that the federal spigot has been turned off and that Congress won’t be coming to the rescue with the massive cash infusion the project needs. So how does he want to revive his beloved bullet train? With $29 billion in new taxes and a grab of $13 billion in cap-and-trade fees as AB 32 gears up. Among the money grabs he envisions:

“• An increase in the gas tax of 6 cents per gallon for 20 years

“• Road tolls of $4 per vehicle on six highways that parallel high-speed rail as it enters the Bay Area and Southern California

“• An $8.50 increase in the annual vehicle license fee (VLF) for 20 years”

Cruickshank completely ignores the fact that polls show Californians have turned on the bullet train. Oh, yeah, they’re going to love paying $29 billion in new taxes for a poorly managed, deceit-ridden project that won’t even go from Los Angeles to San Francisco — just from San Jose to northern L.A. County.

What is about rail — from light rail to bullet trains — that brings out such delusional and cultlike behavior? I think at least part of it is the greens’ hate of automobiles (or other folks’ automobiles). But I don’t think that’s all of it.


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