We can usually count on Dan Walters of the SacBee to have an informed take on Sacramento and California events. He did not disappoint this week with this analysis of the governor's bull-headed high-cost rail "groundbreaking" ceremony.
A clue that the bullet train may be a solution in search of a problem lies in the seemingly strong statement by one speaker that the train will reduce automotive travel in California by 10 million vehicle-miles a day when fully operational in 2040.
The number, echoing High-Speed Rail Authority assertions, sounds impressive until one looks at it in context. California’s motorists drive nearly 1 billion miles a day, so the supposed impact – as voiced by the project’s cheerleaders – represents about a 1 percent reduction.
In addition to Walters' comments hitting the papers this week, no less of a leftist mouthpiece than Mother Jones had this to say about our Golden State boondoggle
We are rapidly exiting the realm of rose-colored glasses and entering the realm of pure fantasy here. If liberals keep pushing this project forward in the face of plain evidence that its official justifications are brazenly preposterous, conservatives are going to be able to pound us year after year for wasting taxpayer money while we retreat to ever more ridiculous and self-serving defenses that make us laughingstocks in the public eye. And unless we put this project on hold until we can get some genuinely independent and plausible estimates of costs, ridership, and alternatives, we'll deserve it.
Yes, you will. The journalist, Kevin Drum, appears to just have figured out that the Parsons Brinkerhoff ridership estimates are pure fantasy. What? This will never happen?
Parsons said the high-speed rail system could carry 116 million passengers a year, based on running trains with 1,000 seats both north and south every five minutes, 19 hours a day and 365 days a year. The study assumes the trains would be 70% full on average.
My goodness. Where has he been? This has been known since 2008. While you are at it, Kevin, how about commenting on Nancy Pelosi's prediction that with HSR "a million good-paying jobs would be created"?