6 Dec 2010

More corruption in the Central Valley

The Congress has appropriated $900 million for high speed rail between Borden and Corcoran. Why choose these giant metropolises?* Perhaps because Fresno is between them! Yes, $900 million** will get you from north of Fresno to south of Fresno in 15 minutes!

No, that's not it. Perhaps because Jim Costa represents the area included in Corcoran, and he only won with 51.2% of the vote? Luckily, he outspent his opponent (Vidak-R) by over 2:1, with 87% of his money coming from "big donors," many of them in food processing, law and real estate.

Or maybe because the train tracks will go through Boswell land. That company was recently talked up by an analyst (who owns some shares), and "Boswell's land (in the middle of the former Tulare Lake bed) is getting too impaired to grow anything," so perhaps Mr Costa is delivering some nice fat, smelly pork to his home-builder-farmer-spectator-donor friends?

I hope that we can rule out Dennis Cardoza (Madera), who calls it a "gross misuse" of taxpayer funds.**

The one thing I do know is that after they burn $900 million (**plus the other $2.5 billion required to get the 56 miles in service) in this rail to nowhere: Lots of people are going to say "we can't stop now!"

...and then who's going to pay the other $40 billion?

Bottom Line: Stupid projects are stupid projects, even when they are subsidized with other people's money. Give the money back to the feds, leave farm land as farm land, punish corruption, and stop wasting our money and time stimulating stupid ideas.
* Half of Corcoran's 26,000-strong population is in prison; Borden is too small to have a wikipedia entry; nearby Madera has a population of 56,000 or so.

** Although he appears to have voted for it before he decided he didn't want it. That's the problem with these huge bills that cover hundreds of topics: too many special interests get squeezed in.


  1. If Boswell wanted to sell any land, they would, rather than wait for some sort of condemnation settlement. In fact, if they wanted to, they could take the company public for about five times what the shares trade for on the Pink Sheets today. That is about as likely as them hiring Dolores Huerta for their next CEO. The stupid train is a giant pain in the ass for Boswell, if anything. The authority is just building this railroad to nowhere so they can then whine about all the money already invested being "thrown away" when nobody wants to build any more of this monstrosity.
    The whole grandiose project is nuts, and is being promoted by a mixture of dreamers, contractors, and social-engineering types (all salted with some measure of crooks, no doubt). HSR from SF to San Jose or Sacramento; hell yes! But taking four hours and several hundred bucks to get from SF to LA, then needing a car when you get there anyway, just doesn't ring my bell.

  2. Right up there with Ohio's "high speed rail" plan to link Cleveland to Cincinatti... a train that will run an awesome 79 mph!


  3. And in our spread out sprawlopolis where light rail is really needed it is opposed by conservative politicians who advocate cutting all public transportation because "people like to drive". The real reason is Diamond Parking doesn't want to lose all that cash flowing west!


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