Secrecy, deception: CA bullet train follows path of Big Dig

Secrecy, deception: CA bullet train follows path of Big Dig

high-speed-rail-map-320One of the defining characteristics of a government boondoggle is secrecy. Boondoggles are much less likely to come to pass if early scrutiny reveals huge problems.

This was illustrated perfectly by the “Big Dig” — the Boston tunnel and road building project that was the most expensive of its kind in U.S. history. This is from the banner story in the Boston Globe on Sunday, April 9, 2000 — long after the local, state and federal governments had sunk billions of dollars into the project:

“Big Dig managers have systematically covered up hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns for years through shell-game accounting that made public estimates for the road-and-tunnel work little more than a mirage.

“While state officials insisted the project was on time, on budget, and tightly managed, a two-month Boston Globe investigation found little of that was true.

“The Globe’s investigation revealed the project has been hemorrhaging money since early 1998 and that its work schedule has slipped so badly it will take as much as a year longer to complete than publicly acknowledged.

“Its management has failed to hold contractors to their bids, or to penalize them for mistakes, resulting in massive cost increases that are still growing. At the same time, managers have been dropping expenses and adding dubious credits to artificially balance the books.

“Until recently, voters, investors, and taxpayers had been assured that the most expensive roadwork in US history was cruising along smoothly. But officials — led by James J. Kerasiotes, the project’s top man — have persistently withheld evidence, turning the Big Dig’s budget into a numerical charade. …

“Federal officials are preparing to release an audit this week that is expected to show the Big Dig’s cost could reach $13.6 billion — $2.8 billion more than projected just six months ago.”

Ridiculous stonewalling from bullet-train officials

Are similar shenanigans going on behind the scenes at the California High Speed Rail Authority? Authority-watcher Kathy Hamilton, writing at, makes a powerful case that when it comes to openness, the bullet train is Big Dig the Sequel:

“Attempting to get information from the High-Speed Rail Authority (HSR) is like pulling teeth since they often delay or refuse to give information when it may be detrimental to the project.

“The California Public Records Act requires state agencies to disclose records and to assist the public in finding the information they need. There are very few, narrowly defined exceptions and it is guaranteed by the state constitution.

“But with the High-Speed Rail Authority, whether they release the information or not depends on who you are and what you are asking for. Here are various responses one can expect when asking for information from the rail authority.

“· It’s draft, you can’t have it

“· Narrow down your request, it’s too broad

“· We need time to find it (the more delayed the better)

“· We have to mail it to you, files are too big

“· It’s a trade secret

“· Client/Attorney Privilege

“· You get some documents but the attachments are missing

“· You can’t have the record because the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

“· We need clarification, which ends up taking a lot of time. An actual example: They have asked the requestor what does the word ‘communication’ means.

“· It doesn’t exist.”

Do you have any doubt that if the CHSRA was actually open we’d see exposes like the Boston Globe’s on the Big Dig?

Me, neither.

As horrible as the project has been, it’s probably far, far worse than we’ve managed to find out.


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  1. Donkey
    Donkey 23 January, 2014, 13:49

    Chris Wrote: “As horrible as the project has been, it’s probably far, far worse than we’ve managed to find out.”

    This just happens to true with every RAGWUS feeding bureaucracy California has created. Lets see if anybody is brought down over the DWP stealing!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  2. bunkerqueen
    bunkerqueen 23 January, 2014, 15:08

    Pretty simple really…Grandpa Jerry is an old fart and old farts like trains. QED

    Reply this comment
  3. bob
    bob 23 January, 2014, 15:20

    But hey, Brownie loves it so it’s full steam ahead!

    Where are all the Brownie lovers and other liberals who infest this blog? What do they have to say about the lack of transparency? How do they defend it?

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 January, 2014, 17:55

    The Slow Speed BB Gun Choo Choo is DOA, stick a fork in it b/c it is done.

    I am fairly confident that if Clown pushes it hard, like he is-and he is the ONLY one pushing it – that it will kill his shot at re-election. 59% of the electorate are now against it, if nothing else Clown reads poll numbers and voting trends, he did the same with Prop 13 in 78.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 23 January, 2014, 18:34

      Rex, the good people of this state couldn’t even get justice for Kelly Thomas, and he was murdered on film by state costumed tools. It isn’t a stretch to believe that the RAGWUS would waste billions on a worthless boondoggle when you look at their current actions! People in the RAGWUS like Chaz Steals have no conscience when it comes the stealing from the taxpayer. 🙂

      Reply this comment
    • Winning Issue for 2014
      Winning Issue for 2014 24 January, 2014, 07:16

      Every fiscally conservative candidate in California for Congress, state office, state legislature, local office should run against High-Speed Rail. It is a winning issue. Flush out all central planning socialists into public view by making them defend the bullet train in debates and in the news.

      Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 23 January, 2014, 18:58


    Benefits are earned by many people using employment contracts freely negotiated by labor and management.

    Entitlements for poor people is moral in a civilized state. Sick and hungry people need help.

    Just because your chubby and wearing a purple t-shirt or proudly wear a police or fireman uniform doesn’t mean your a slug or moocher….

    CWD posters are uncaring and unappreciative of civil servants’ dedication and hard work for our collective welfare.

    Change your ways…’re too smart to be mislead by the usual suspects.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 23 January, 2014, 20:22

      UU the contracts negotiated by the RAGWUS thieves is nothing short of a poorly acted play intent on stealing from the taxpayer in the most legal fashion their cabal could have designed. Think of it this way: a company that makes no product, hires employees ( a very loose term for RAGWUS feeders) that negotiate for wages with an employer that has no bottom line, its only source of revenue is taxpayer money and the taxpayer gets nothing in return, except the promise of higher taxes with every year. The negotiating boils down to what the average city, county, or state entity is earning plus another 5%, and still nothing ever gets done. Now the RAGWUS feeders are only concerned with inflating their pay, pensions, and benefits.

      Entitlements are a sign of a weak economy brought on by an overpaid gaggle of RAGWUS feeders that have a never ending quest for more taxpayer money.

      I have no idea why you are belittling chubby FF and PO’s UU, but you are correct in pointing out that they are Moochers and slugs, but don’t leave out greedy RAGWUS feeders too!!

      The conservative/Libertarian leaning CWD posters are not appreciative that the RAGWUS cabal is stealing the wealth of the cities, counties, and state while the private sector taxpayers are being robbed by the politicians put in office by your RAGWUS cabal spends all its time doing the cabals bidding.

      You are right UU, I’m way too smart to be mislead by the usual RAGWUS suspects. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 January, 2014, 11:50

    Donk, stop destroying the Teddy Steals sock puppet, Teddy may not ever recover 😉

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 27 January, 2014, 08:06

    The good news is that this gravy train is going to stop.

    The REALLY GOOD news is that when it does stop it will wipe out everyone who supported it.

    Reply this comment

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