Saturday, July 07, 2012

Sacramento Clown Show 

The California legislature has approved the sale of $4.5 billion in bonds previously approved by voters, of which $2.6 billion is to pay for the construction of an initial 130-mile stretch of high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. The approval allows the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been lost if lawmakers failed to act Friday.

California is for all intents and purposes broke, with a current debt of around $390 billion (that's $390 thousand million) and an officially acknowledged current year deficit of about $16 billion. That figure includes $3.5 billion of the $4.5 billion bond sale approved by the legislature.

According to Huffington Post in an article dated June 3, a recent poll of California voters suggests the citizens are having second thoughts:
LOS ANGELES -- A new poll finds California voters are experiencing buyers' remorse over a proposed $68 billion bullet train project, as the number of lawsuits against the rail system grows.
Fifty-five percent of voters want to see the high-speed rail bond issue that was approved in 2008 back on the ballot, and 59 percent say they would now vote against it, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey (lat.ms/N9tTcm) published Saturday.
Since the $9 billion borrowing plan was passed, the projected cost of the bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco has roughly doubled, and it will now share track with slower commuter and freight trains in some areas, the Times said.
A majority of voters have turned against the ambitious undertaking just as Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing lawmakers to approve the start of construction in the Central Valley later this year.
Private enterprises are staying away from the project in droves because they won't participate without a revenue guarantee from the state, which is forbidden by the terms of the referendum in which the bonds were approved.

Given the condition of the State's finances and the fact that the voters were essentially lied to before the 2008 referendum on the project, it is the height of folly to proceed with the high speed rail project.

Perhaps there should be a law that requires every member of the state government to ride the thing every working day. That would probably triple the (honestly) expected ridership, and it would keep them occupied out of Sacramento so they couldn't screw up the state even more than they have.

A better idea would be to vote all of them out--Dems and Repubs, and replace them with people who have some fiscal discipline--can you imagine a government composed entirely of Libertarians? Couldn't do worse than the Klown Korps that currently sits in Sacramento.

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