Re: Fast Train to Failure-Yep, but then what?
Date: 12-06-2018 - 11:26
As, I've noted previously, outgoing Governor was "hands off" on the CHSRA fiasco, unwilling to challenge the Bay Area political factions, in the US Senate, House, and at the local level which spawned the "runaway money train".
As I have noted, for years, and has been now completely validated by the State Audit, the sheer incompetence of this project, at every phase from 1995 until now, from the definition of "purpose and need", to "alternatives analysis", to defining and testing service "requirements", to demand analysis, to environmental analysis, to design, to ROW acquisition, to construction designs and specifications, to bidding processes, to mismanagement of Federal grants, to management of cash flow and finances, to change orders, to delays, to staff turnover, to a complete and spectacular "clusterf##k" to has been a very expensive lesson learned.
No other Federally funded project using either Highway or Transit funding would have been allowed to get to these points, since those funds come with much more rigorous "purpose and needs" and alternatives analysis process that FRA neither included, nor was equipped to do, so let's not let the folks who gave us this money, and then had no process or staff to effectively monitor, review, or approve funding, and effectively just gave the CHSRA a "blank check" with a due date, which they now will not meet, and may require the California State taxpayer to "pay" back the US taxpayers the $3.3 billion, in Federal funds.
Nearly ten years ago, when I was involved in advising several organizations on rail related projects for the economic stimulus to get folks "back to work". I worked to get the existing list of State and local rail projects, many of which had been through the planning processes, had completed environmental, had design and bid specifications, on corridors like LOSSAN, the Valley, and Capitols receive priority funding, since they could all , be "shoved" up the funding list and be under contract within 1 to 3 years. Today, nearly 10 years later, we still have not completed nearly half of the projects on those lists.
So I am not a big fan of the "runaway money train", now being built, at enormous taxpayer cost, to meet no demonstrated transportation deficiency nor any of our well documented interregional and short distance intercity travel needs. So, now what?
The usual evil "gubmint" partisans, conspiracy theorist's, and train haters are, of course, in their usual state of rabid excitability. The evil system has failed.
And, I see that the usual apologist's are still dredging up the "it's cool", all of the really "cool" countries have one, build it and "they will come", and other "visionary" nonsense, having nothing whatsoever to do with how adults ought to make decisions about spending other peoples (all of ours, really) money on things that might help meet "our" real mobility needs, which might add value to all of us for the taxpayer money that is spent.
So, now that some serious folks are tired of waiting for the LAUPT run-through (could have been under construction, and nearly finished, by now), and wonder why we are planning on spending another $25 billion on Pacheco Pass for a train, that will have to charge a much higher fare than Southwest, to get from LA to SFO in 2:45 minutes, when you can't even get the 120 miles from LA to San Diego, on the second busiest, still "single tracked", rail passenger corridor, in the busiest and most congested US intercity (I-5) corridor, in under 3 hours, what should we do?
How soon can we stop the bleeding, and what processes should be put in place to prevent this kind of fiasco in the future? How do we salvage what there is to salvage, from this unmitigated "clusterf##k" and what should our real rail passenger priorities be in CA? I'm sure we'll get all of the fringe ranting and gainsay nonsense, but I'm more interested in what the adults think we should do?