Green Train, But No Green Money

by Thomas Buckley at

When the bond was passed 1100 years ago to create California’s high speed rail project/grifty thingy/whatever, voters were told a number of things like where it would go, when it would be done, and how much it would cost.  

All lies, of course, but one other lie stands out:  the lie that private investment will clamor to get involved, this will be a true public/private partnership, hey, look at Europe and Japan – they have private money in their trains so of course it will happen in California!

As the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board has recently reminded everyone, the backers of the measure explicitly knew this was false and intentionally hid this fact from the public until six days after the bond measure vote:

“…few are aware that before 53 percent of voters backed Proposition 1A in 2008 based on the rosiest of projections, state officials already knew it was likely doomed — but kept the information hidden. The rail authority had promised to release a business plan by Oct. 1, 2008, that was expected to back the claims of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders that the project was a sure winner akin to successful bullet train programs in Europe and Asia. The plan was never released, allegedly because of staffing issues. But just after the election, it emerged that rail authority analysts had warned the project would never attract enough private investors to pan out. That’s because unlike projects such investors had backed elsewhere, Proposition 1A banned taxpayer subsidies if costs exceeded revenues — a crucial detail.”