Bay Area Consumer Frustrations: High Speed Rail Project, Cal Ave Rant, etc.

by on July 25, 2012

in consumer

High Speed Rail project

Living here in Menlo Park, we’re smack dab in the middle of the ruckus called the High Speed Rail initiative.

When it first kicked up after voters approved it, all the budget numbers changed, the HSR board told locals to blow it out their a**! when they grumbled and to deal with it.

The local towns dealt with it as they were forced to take legal counsel since no one was listening.

The project looked like it was starting to pipe down and go away but then Gov Brown voted a nearly $5 billion bond issuance to start this back up again.  (I swear, someone with deep pockets had to have pushed this to go through)  While signing the bill, Brown called those in objection to the plan “fearful men.”  (Translating to: screw you?)

Now that we’re willing to spend $5B, the fed will pipe in another $3B to the project.

But it’s starting to feel like the early days of this fiasco.

Two Peninsula (Bay Area) legislators had voted for this bond initiative, but they were told that the HSR project would only stick to 2 rails when it came down through the Peninsula.  But today we’re reading in the Daily Post that the HSR is still looking to make it a 4-rail project.

So the Peninsula is getting hosed again, even if Q. Kopp is not at the helm of this new dissing of the citizens.

Then there’s this plot in how they plan to route the rail… it’s going to Los Angeles to San Francisco, but via Fresno, Madera and Merced.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’d love to see high speed rail work.  It’s worked for other countries.  But they’ve connected major cities with their projects.  But this smells of the AMC hit show, Hell on Wheels.  Why take the straightest route when you can make more money laying track in a more circuitous route?

We voted in a $10B project that almost instantly blossomed to a $40B project and now, it’s looking like a $68B project. Fascinating trend going on here.

Meanwhile, the state has a $20B deficit.

The state of California has multiple cities looking to declare bankruptcy and teachers and education is getting the heave ho and being shoved to the back of the budget bus.  And Brown signed this bill, despite an LA Times poll that showed that 75% of Californians don’t want their tax money spent on this boondoggle.

What it tells me is that what the people want doesn’t matter and I think that voters may have to consider never trusting what’s put before them on the voter’s pamphlet ever again.  Not if things can go so horribly wrong like it has with this High Speed Rail project.

– – –

Since I’ve spent too much time on the HSR noise, I’ll only pipe in a short bit about how the Palo Alto city council has decided to reduce the width of California Avenue from 4 to 2 lanes.

Despite citizens requests, the city will NOT conduct a test of how this lane reduction will impact local businesses like Mollie Stone’s grocery store.

Council members said that a test would be hard to measure and would not accomplish anything.  All the while, they were also quoting how slower traffic will help local businesses.  In fact one fellow is attacking the business owners for more or less, over-reacting.  I love how politicians are starting to attack constituents more these days for looking out for themselves.

So they’re willing to drop just over $2M in funds on this project.

Even if it might seem like a good idea to reduce the road size, I think they should conduct a test to make sure that what they surmise, will actually occur.  And that summation would be that businesses would benefit.

Yo, listen to the folks that voted you in.  It’s their party, not yours.

But then again, watching the HSR debacle, I’m thinking it doesn’t matter what we think. Even if the cost of the HSR project is multiple times that of our state deficit, spending is all the rage.

Sigh.

[7-24-12 edition of the Daily Post]

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