Select Page

CALAMITY: Railroading California and the USA

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Government, Politics | 0 comments

Please follow us on X @

Take a ride on the Reading Railroad and collect $100 billion after passing GO!

Of course, if one is playing Hasbro’s popular board game Monopoly, one only collects $200 after passing GO. However, if you were among the more than 6.5 million voters who voted “Yes” for California’s High-Speed Railway, you would want to kick up that $200 by about 5 million percent.

At the top of the promotions as to why Californian voters would want this was the statement: “Provides long-distance commuters with a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices.” That would be for all motorists wanting to go from Merced to Bakersfield (or vice-versa), a distance of 157 miles.

If one were to travel that distance five days a week for 50 weeks a year at $5 a gallon of gas, that would cost $20,000 if one drove a vehicle getting 20 miles/gallon. Now that’s a far cry from the estimated $1,000 each year for a California family of four to pay down that nearly $10 billion bond.

However, the cost of the Railway system has been inching up since the 2008 vote took place and is now estimated to be between $88-$128 billion before completion (Jeniece Petitte/CNBC). Not good for a state already (ostensibly) struggling with a $68 billion debt.

And none of this takes into consideration what a ticket will eventually cost to ride on that speed rail – yet to be determined. Oh, and don’t expect to make that trip until 2030, or beyond.

But wait, one might say, won’t we be speeding down that highway in our electric vehicles by then? Possibly, for those who can cough up the $60 grand it takes to buy one. And do those with EVs want to pay for an electric train as well?

To ease the bad press that the High-Speed (slow-developing) Railway is getting, California is turning to Big Daddy Warbucks – the Federal Government.

To the Golden State’s relief, big spender Uncle Joe replaced mean Uncle Don, who asked Governor Newsom for the taxpayer’s money back. Uncle Joe doubled down by doling out an extra $3.1 billion to subsidize the train. After all, Joe loves trains and used to ride Amtrak to work each day.

As for the nearly forgotten commuter idea that is Amtrak, it also plans to double down to the tune of $75 billion, thanks to the federal infrastructure bill shoveling $22 billion onto its tracks (along with $35 billion in grants). Amtrak promises to be faster and run more often than four times a day.

Trains are not obsolete. They carry freight like no other means of transport. And folks, like Joe Biden, like to ride on trains.

Walt Disney liked trains and would have loved the idea of a high-speed rail whisking passengers between the wharf of San Francisco and Disneyland in LA. But if you’re hoping to one day make that trip with your grandkids, chances are they’ll still be waiting when they’re grandparents.

And high-speed rail isn’t just a California thing, Florida has one too. Only, Florida doesn’t do the tax thing.

Florida just completed a high-speed railway between Miami and Orlando (235 miles). It was done by the Brightline Company and cost just $6.4 billion – all private money. It took five years to finish. They are now working on a spur to include Tampa.

There are much better ways to do things, if the government just gets out of the way.