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.