As has been apparent for a few years now, California's governing class just might be the most incompetent and rapacious leeches that ever drove a once-dynamic economy over a cliff. Now they are being urged by the Obama Administration to be even more
incompetent and rapacious. The issue is the insane drive to build high-speed rail
to and from nowhere:
In 2008 voters approved $9 billion in bonds for construction under the pretense that the train would cost only
$33 billion and be financed primarily by the federal government and
private enterprise. Investors, however, won't put up any money because
the rail authority's business plans are too risky. Rail companies have
refused to operate the train without a revenue guarantee, which the
ballot initiative prohibits. Even contractors are declining to bid on
the project because they're worried they won't get paid.
Mr. Brown is hoping that Washington will pony up more than $50
billion, but the feds have committed only $3.3 billion so far—and
Republicans intend to claw it back if they take the Senate and White
House this fall. If that happens, the state won't have enough money to
complete its first 130-mile segment in the lightly populated Central
Valley, which in any event wouldn't be operable since the state can't
afford to electrify the tracks.
None of which is stopping Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is
putting the squeeze on California lawmakers to appropriate $6
billion—now. "We can't wait," he says. The White House wants to get the
money out the door before the election. It's worried that even some
Democratic legislators are getting cold feet as logistical challenges
and public opposition mount.