The Trump administration’s Transportation Department is withholding federal funding of a project to modernize Silicon Valley’s light rail system. The New York Times says Trump is breaking a campaign promise about rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
The question is, why should Washington have to fund California’s transit system?
Turns out, the Golden State can’t afford it. Which begs the question, why the hell not?
California is the technology and agriculture capital of the world. It’s home to some of the richest companies and entrepreneurs on Earth. And its taxes are among the highest in the nation. Where in the world does all the money go? Another good question.
California is practically broke because of massive state and municipal bureaucracies, entitlements, and environmental regulations. Any infrastructure project ends up costing ten times more and taking ten times longer than it should. Administrators, planners, lawyers, consultants, and vagrants do great here. And nothing ever gets done.
Get this. The state began a high-speed rail project to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco 21 years ago with the creation of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. It took 12 years just to approve a bond measure for $10 billion to fund it and another 7 years for construction to begin (allegedly; I haven’t seen it with my own eyes).
Fast forward to today. The Times says it’s actually going to cost $64 billion and be complete in 2029. At this rate, if you check back in a dozen years, the cost will probably be jacked up to $256 billion with completion around 2050. In other words, it’s never going to happen, at least not in our lifetimes.
That’s why California republicans don’t want the federal government to put up any funds for the Silicon Valley Caltrain upgrade. They simply don’t trust the state to actually use the funds where they say they’re going to. More likely the money will just get sucked into the high-speed rail black hole.
The weather and the scenery are beautiful, but take it from me folks; this state is so screwed up it isn’t funny. Our only hope is that federal deregulation will eventually trickle down to the states and municipalities so the funds for this bloated bureaucracy eventually dry up. If not, where do you think I should move to?
Image credit Bart via Flickr