Out of Control Policy Blog

Editorial: Prop. 1A a Fast Track to Bankruptcy

The Orange County Register's excellent editorial page weighs in on California's high-speed rail proposal:

To call this project a boondoggle would be an understatement. At a time when California state government is operating at a substantial deficit – despite the Band-Aids recently applied that may or may not reduce it much – it would be irresponsible to take on a debt of this magnitude, especially given that the total cost of the train would be many tens of billions of dollars more.

It is not difficult to understand the romantic appeal of a high-speed train that would make traveling up and down the state easy and fast. But a remotely realistic set of projections for this project indicates that California taxpayers would be on the hook for decades, for benefits that would be much less than advertised.

If a high-speed train were economically feasible – that is, if revenue from anticipated operations were projected to be higher than capital and operating costs – private investors would be lining up to put money into it. The fact that our legislators want taxpayers to pony up means that even the project's supporters know it is an economic dog.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board also says No, No, No to Prop. 1A.

Reason Foundation's High-Speed Rail Due Diligence Report

Robert Poole is Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy


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