Tuesday, February 12, 2019

California To Pull Plug On Bullet Train? -- February 12, 2019


Later, 3:52 p.m. Central Time: it looks like the headline-writers were far out in front of their headlights. It turns out that the governor of California has not killed the project "outright." He will still spend money studying the issue and spend enough money to qualify for federal stimulus funds, but ... something tells me this will be very confusing to most folks. Is the project dead or isn't it? Sounds like the governor himself can't decide.

Branco's cartoon today. Incredibly coincidental:

Original Post 

The story is being reported by one news outlet. Need to confirm. The "California Bullet Train" is tracked here.

Not even Drudge has the story yet. We'll watch to see which of the big six cover it first: CBS, NBC, ABC, LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post. According to google, the AP and The [London] Guardian were the first to major outlets to report the story. Then Fox News and almost simultaneously, something called Curbed LA.

The first major news outlet to cover this story has a great video that was actually produced just before the news that the project was canceled. Some data points from the video which is now overcome by events:
  • the cost for the bullet train has jumped another $2.8 billion
  • a single section, 119 miles in the Central Valley near Sacramento is now estimated to come in at $10 billion; original section was to cost $6 billion
  • reasons for sudden jump in cost estimate:
    • higher land acquisition
    • relocation of utilities
    • need for safety barriers
    • growing stakeholder demands
  • already a decade behind when the plug was pulled
  • but look at this: the tipping point came when California rushed to spend $2.8 billion to show enough progress to get $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds before December 31, 2018, deadline
  • thus, California just spent another $2.8 billion to save $2.5 billion; and,
  • that was probably the tipping point for the new governor
Questions: How much was spent in all to get this far;? How much will it cost to tear down what is already put in place; complete utility projects; pay-off contracts? Civil suits?

No major news outlet is reporting it yet, although the AP has.

Screenshot at 3:27 p.m. Central Time, February 12, 2019:

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