High Speed Rail in Central California…a quick trip to financial ruin.

High Speed RailTo say I’m again astounded by the ineptitude of public officials would be a great understatement.  For those of you who don’t know my background, I was born and raised in California’s great central agricultural valley, the San Joaquin.  I sold farms and ranches there for many years, traversed the valley from side to side and end to end several hundred times.  I know the country.

California High Speed Rail, under the questionable tutelage of Roelof van Ark has proposed spending 4.1 billion for a High Speed Rail from Corcoran, CA to Madera, CA.  Well, folks, Corcoran has a population of just over fourteen thousand (I don’t know if that includes the prison inmates) and Madera a population of just under one hundred fifty thousand.  This is not Los Angeles to San Francisco, folks.  But two agricultural communities, with the line passing through other agricultural communities.  And through some of the best farmland in the world.  A high speed rail, which would be a financial disaster, of course, would encourage development along it’s path, which would encourage turning that farmland into houses, a disaster in itself.  Even Fresno, near the center of the run, the largest of any community served is less than a million population.  And capability of paying the kind of fares necessary to support a high speed rail?  Average income for Madera: $31,000.  Average income for Corcoran: $31,000.  Average income in Fresno: $34,725.  The average rider is not going to be able to afford the cost of riding a high speed rail.  Unless, of course, like AmTrac, you and I and the rest of the taxpayers in the U.S. dig in our pockets…as per usual.

And as a financial investment, I’d like to say it’s just short of insane…were it not totally insane.  Where does California get these imbeciles?

And this is not a white collar area, the folks who live here drive pickup trucks and go to work in coveralls.

Could this kind of thinking be why the Federal Government, the State Governments, the County Governments, and most of our cities are bankrupt?  High Speed Rail up and down the San Francisco pennensula, maybe, from L. A. to San Diego, maybe, but even that would be questionable.  But from Corcoran prison to the Apple orchards and almond orchards of Madera.  Total lunacy.

See below:

California High Speed Rail CEO Roelof van Ark today announced his recommendation that the CHSRA board approve a route from Madera to Corcoran, centered on Fresno, as the starting point for construction of California’s HSR project. From the Authority’s press release:

In making his recommendation, which the Authority’s Board of Directors will consider next week, Authority CEO Roelof van Ark noted that the first segment to enter construction would make the best use of the $4.3 billion in currently available construction funds and meet all state and federal legal requirements.
 
“The decision before the Authority is an important one, but we should all remember that this project is a marathon, not a single stride,” van Ark said. “It’s not about the first 100 yards, the first mile, or even the first 50 miles. It’s about the finish line – building the nation’s first true high-speed rail system, connecting California’s great cities the entire distance between them.”…

Spanning about 65 miles, the recommended segment would start near Madera, include the construction of two new stations – one in downtown Fresno and the other east of Hanford – and continue south to Corcoran.
 
Estimates place the cost of the proposed section at $4.15 billion, which leaves enough money to – if necessary – connect these tracks with existing rail lines as per a federal “independent utility” requirement.

Note that the Authority is now indeed proposing a Hanford/Visalia station – that was considered a possibility, but was not one of the formally adopted stations as of 2008. To conform to the 24-station limit, another station will have to be cut – if there is only one San Fernando Valley station instead of the originally planned two, then the limit is maintained.

The cost of the project accounts for two new stations, right-of-way acquisition, viaduct construction, site preparation, grading, vegetation restoration, rail bridge construction, roadway realignments, relocation of existing railways and utilities. The final track would be ready in 2017.

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