Cynthia Ward writing at the City Journal has a very interesting and insighful article.
California’s multi-billion-dollar bullet-train boondoggle was predictable—and predicted.
In October 2008, Joseph Vranich, a preeminent authority on high-speed rail in the United States,
testified before a hearing of California’s State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Vranich,
the best-selling author of Supertrains and a 40-year advocate of high-speed rail, had come to offer his thoughts on the state’s plan to build a high-speed rail line from Orange County to San Francisco. “This is the first time I am unable to endorse a high-speed rail plan,” he told the senators, saying that he found the California High Speed Rail Authority’s work to be “the poorest I have ever seen.”
It’s fair to say that the vast majority of California voters never heard what Vranich had to say. Instead, they relied on faulty and unverified information on their ballot statements, where high-speed rail proponents touted the environmental advantages and fiscal benefits of the state’s plan. Less than a month after his testimony, voters approved Proposition 1A, authorizing Sacramento to sell a few billion dollars in bonds for a project most experts, now including the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office and the University of California, say will cost tens of billions of dollars more than the official $43 billion estimate.
Read the rest of the article here. I have written about these issues on this blog many times.