High Speed Rail at the Movies

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Yesterday, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) testified before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and said of California’s High Speed Rail project, “I know Hollywood happens to be in California, but this is not a Kevin Costner movie. If we built it, I don’t know if they will come.”

To which Governor Jerry Brown might answer, “Frankly, Congressman, I don’t give a damn!” “This is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

McCarthy pointed out that voters were promised private money would help build the rail. But he said there is no private money. Therefore, the taxpayers would be on the hook for $38 billion.

Hearing that, you would think any taxpayer would say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

To put that amount of money needed to build the train in perspective, McCarthy said, if all the taxes in the fiscal cliff debate passed they would raise $31 billion.

McCarthy then told the panel (metaphorically), “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

Cut your loses!

Don’t pile good money onto bad on a project that has a business plan that is not viable. For one thing, McCarthy said, the numbers of ridership promised by the rail planners do not add up.

Response from the rail authority is probably going to be some sort of excuse or delay such as, “What we got here is a failure to communicate.”

The high -speed rail project might be too much of a reach given the state’s financial condition. “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

With apologies (in Order of Appearance) to: Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind; Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon; Peter Finch in Network; Marlon Brando in The Godfather; Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke; Bette Davis in Now, Voyager.

McCarthy’s six-minute testimony before the committee can be seen here.

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