Friday, July 1, 2016

California's political class knew damn well the high-speed rail was a likely boondoggle; they just didn't care

Former Reason editor and current Bloomberg View columnist Virginia Postrel has a terrific new column laying out in damning detail the latest revelations in California's high-speed rail boondoggle. The Los Angeles Times, Postrel notes, published an investigative piece earlier this month showing that (in her paraphrasing), "When the Spanish construction company Ferrovial submitted its winning bid for a 22-mile segment, the proposal included a clear and inconvenient warning: 'More than likely, the California high speed rail will require large government subsidies for years to come.'" Worse yet—the state scrubbed that we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-subsidy warning from the project's website, almost certainly because the California High-Speed Rail Authority is heavily invested in the provable fiction that (in its own shouty words), "HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN CALIFORNIA WILL NOT REQUIRE OPERATING SUBSIDIES."

That thievery-level mendacity of the vested pro-rail interests within government, you can be sure, will not be the target of suggested fraud prosecutions in the Democratic Party's national platform. (Indeed, if they were being even-handed about suggesting law enforcement crackdowns against intentionally misleading forward statements, Democrats would be investigating why their own "five million green jobs" stubbornly failed to materialize.)

But California's broader political class also has blood on its hands...