Yesterday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood rescinded nearly $1.2 billion in stimulus funds from Wisconsin and Ohio after the states’ respective newly-elected governors, Scott Walker and John Kasich respectively, said they would follow through on their campaign promise not to waste their states’ money on high speed rail. So what does the Obama administration plan to do with this $1.2 billion? Pay for unemployment benefits? Balance the budget? Pay down the debt? No, of course not. They are going to spend it of course.
Where? On other worthless projects like the Super Train to Nowhere in California. After the California High Speed Rail Authority approved construction for the first 65 mile leg of California’s project, The Los Angeles Times reported:
Costing at least $4.15 billion, the segment would run from the tiny town of Borden to Corcoran, an area hit so hard by the recession and agriculture declines that it has been dubbed the New Appalachia. Stations would be built in Fresno and Hanford.
Included in the plan are tracks, station platforms, bridges and viaducts, which would elevate the line through urban areas. The initial section, however, would not be equipped with maintenance facilities, locomotives, passenger cars or an electrical system necessary to power high-speed trains.
Critics of the initial segment selection, including Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced), have dubbed it a “train to nowhere.”
$4.15 billion. For just 65 miles of track. That will not even be able to support actual high speed rail. Between a town that is so small the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t even keep official population estimates (Borden) and another that is best known as the home of Charles Manson. No wonder even Democrats are calling California’s super train a “train to nowhere.”
And now McClatchy is reporting that the Obama administration is going to give California another $624 million to waste on this boondoggle. How much track will that $624 million buy? Not much. The first 65 mile of track already used up virtually all of Obama’s $2 billion in stimulus funds. The project’s full phase is supposed to extend 500 miles and cost at least $43 billion at a bare minimum.
“No other state is as ready, as able, or as determined to develop a high-speed rail system in the near future,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told McClatchy. If the Californai project is the Super Train’s best hope, the Obama switch to Super Busses can’t be far away.