California is in the news again…

This time about high speed rail.

The state legislature appointed an  panel to look at the viability of issuing $2.7 billion in bonds, the proceeds of which would be used to fund the initial stage of a high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  This is the 65 mile stretch between the booming cities of Borden and Corcoran

There is urgency here because, if work does not begin this fall, California runs the risk of losing $3.3 billion of federal money.  However, the total cost of the project is currently estimated at close to $100 billion.

The California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group—which the state legislature appointed to analyze funding for the rail system—questioned the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plan to start construction without any assurance of future funding from the federal government, among other factors.

Moving ahead ‘represents an immense financial risk’ for California… [emphasis supplied].

Of course, “future funding from the federal government” means you the taxpayer as the federal government doesn’t earn any money on its own…it just takes your money.

Of interest, though, were the comments from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the folks in charge of this boondoggle.

The [independent panel] failed to consider the risks of not proceeding with with the rail plan, such as ‘lost opportunities for funding’…

By that I assume they mean the loss of  $3.3 billion in “federal” money.  But. looking at this logically, that statement is nonsense.  Apparently the rail authority would rather take $3.3 billion of your money, with no hope of ever coming up with the remaining $97 billion cost of the entire system so they can build a 65 mile segment from no where to no where.

That’s the heart of the problem in this country. 

You take “free” money to build something you don’t need and can’t afford, just because the money is “free”.  Future consequences be damned.


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on January 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Spending $100 billion (for starters no doubt: look at the Big Dig syndrome) to get $3 billion is a sucker bet, something only big government could think makes sense.

  2. Tim-in-Alabama on January 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    President Umpa Lumpa is for this so it WILL be built.

  3. ricbee on January 4, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Geez…somehow “busway” comes to mind. I predict not one passenger will ever ride on it & it will take another 1/4 million to turn it into farmland or a bicycle path.

  4. ricbee on January 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Who’s dumb enough to buy the bonds,”Freddy & Fanny”.

  5. essneff on January 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Your last 2 sentences?decribe a situation in Rocky Hill CT perfectly, ?the town has twice put forth in 2008 & 2010 a massive tax, spend & borrow plan?to upgrade?the public schools in the town. Their arguement was that the state of Connecticut would kick in a portion of the price. ?Defeated in the dem’s big time victory election in 2008, they came back in 2010 with the bargaining chip?that the state (billions in the hole before Dannel P.?was even elected & before his largest tax increase in state history)?would kick in even more taxpayer money even though the town’s portion?had grown?even higher than in 2008! The point was that?we just?have?to?take advantage of that “free” state money! It was crushed again by the electorate……. hey, they ain’t through….. they’re coming back again in 2012 for a third try!! I think they might hold the vote mid summer between 3-4 am!!?

  6. JBS on January 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

    The myth of public money has to die. We all know the source of “public money” is the taxpayer. The gang of California’s Peer Review Group will undoubtedly take the money. The answer is simple greed and self-interest. The are afraid if they don’t take the money, it will “disappear.” Which is false. In actuality, the money was never real to begin with. It probably comes from bonds which the taxpayer will have to redeem in the future.
    One of the worst things ever created is grants. Next in line is grant-writer.
    P.S.: Rocky Hill is doomed to get the new school project, whether the town needs it or not.

    • Dimsdale on January 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      To paraphrase Pogo: “we have met the public money, and it is us.”

    • Lynn on January 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Pretty good when you can improve on the original!

  7. Lynn on January 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

    With a few little changes this sounds like a great story for a remake of? the Lucille Ball Show.? Rickie, I have a coupon for $3 off for a $100 pair of shoes.
    Lucy, You already have 50 pairs of shoes and we don’t have $97.
    Rickie, You have no common sense, do you want me to lose $3?

    • JBS on January 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Buy now and save.
      Say what? But, it’s on sale!
      It’s still greed.

  8. Murphy on January 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Buy now while it’s on sale!!! What we don’t need it? But it’s on sale for a short time only!

  9. PatRiot on January 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Great post SOS.
    More and more of us are seeinng this stupidity.
    Unfortunatley,?those who think it a great idea?are the same ones saying “Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?”


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