Local Blogs

Tim Talk

By Tim Hunt

E-mail Tim Hunt

About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

View all posts from Tim Hunt

Surprise, surprise--train backers need more $s

Uploaded: Apr 4, 2013
Was anyone surprised that the state high-speed rail authority was back seeking more money this week.
The authority announced that it will take another $97 million to pay for consultants and additional staff to keep the first segment of the slow rail moving forward. The 90-mile initial segment will not, as built, be capable of carrying high-speed trains, so declares former high-speed rail chair and original backer, retired Judge Quentin Kopp. His is one of several declarations due to be argued in court about whether the authority is acting lawfully to build the first segment it has chosen.
In addition, the state, has filed an unusual validation action that basically says sue us now or forget ever having standing to sue again. It is an unusual legal maneuver, one designed to give the authority cover.
The authority directors, last month, authorized the sale of bonds, even though they are tapping a separate state fund for the extra $97 million.
The feds also are being remarkably flexible with the authority, advancing almost $1 billion for expenses without requiring the one-to-one match immediately. The agreement was modified to accommodate this questionable maneuver. You have seen no such flexibility from the president who decided that White House tours will be suspended as the result of the sequester instead of moving some money around to continue to accommodate visitors.
Of course, questionable tactics have been routine for the authority, which has a shortfall of nearly $60 billion to make up to construct the rail system that is supposed to cost $69 billion. It makes the twin tunnels in the Delta of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan seem small at $24 billion over 50 years. The high-speed choo-choo is $70 billion in round numbers before the inevitable construction cost over-runs and none of that is operating money. The BDCP has its basic funding stream established—user pays—while the rail authority still is dreaming of additional federal money and private investment.
The governor continues to jam both projects forward—one is necessary because the current situation in the Delta is worsening and must be resolved—while the other is part of his green pipe dream.
Notably, part of the governor's green agenda is one-third of power coming from renewable sources—not including hydro power. Californians already pay among the highest electrical power rates in the nation and the 33 percent renewable will only increase those costs. So, the high-speed rail, should it ever be built—will be running on very expensive electricity.

Comments

Posted by Casanova_Frankenstein, a resident of Old Towne,
on Apr 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

Casanova_Frankenstein is a registered user.

Surprise, surprise--haters gotta h8.

Tim, are you a lawyer or an expert on this topic? I only ask because you cite no one, credit no sources, and you fail to establish either your credentials on the topic or specific experience when you make sweeping claims such as the highly unusual nature of the validation action or the "questionable" actions of the Obama administration by relaxing the timing CA has to match the federal funds.

If you're not careful, people might just get the impression that you are just a blowhard who feels that your own uninformed opinion, if boldly and snarkily stated, should be accepted on blind faith by us lesser mortals.


To post your comment, please click here to login

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Moneyball, the Sequel: Billy Beane for President!
By Tom Cushing | 6 comments | 941 views

Spedowfski Announces run for Livermore City Council
By Roz Rogoff | 1 comment | 841 views

Planning the "Pleasanton way"
By Tim Hunt | 8 comments | 791 views

Take Full Advantage of Free Standardized Testing Opportunities
By Elizabeth LaScala | 0 comments | 269 views