This past week Governor Jerry Brown released the details of his latest High Speed Rail project that commits $68 billion, has a $55 billion spending gap, and looks nothing like the plan that voters approved four years ago.
Four years ago, the voters of California were promised a rail system that would connect Los Angeles to San Francisco by 2020 at the cost of $33 billion. A month ago that same plan would now cost $100 billion with an estimated completion date of 2033. This past week the plan was once again revised to $68 billion with an estimated completion date of 2028.
These erratic economic projections crush any confidence that the people of California might have had in those charged with carrying out this project.
Just last November Governor Brown and his hand-picked High Speed Rail ‘experts’ presented the people of California with what they called a ‘solid’ $100 billion plan. And now his back with another ‘solid’ $68 billion updated plan.
In fact, this new incarnation of the project is twice as expensive as what voters were led to believe. There remains only $4.2 billion in pledged federal funding and $10 billion that the Governor wants the people of California to borrow and pay back with interest. Leaving $55 billion in construction costs that someone else will have to figure out how to pay, but the people of California will ultimately be on the hook for.
Governor Brown seems determined to make high speed rail part of his legacy, even if it comes at the expense of California’s schools, universities and public safety. Unfortunately, he’s ignoring the two-thirds of Californians who believe voters should have a chance to reconsider this project and its ballooning price tag.