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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail

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Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Alternatives to the HSR

High-speed rail was well-intentioned but the reality is, that HSR is extremely expensive and it is obsolete technology. We must look at new innovative ways and look to future technologies of the 21st century not technology from the 1970s.

If we want an alternative to the HSR, there are two promising technologies that might be the future of transportation in California. The first is HyperLoop. Speeds-up to 700 mph, more affordable to build and operate, and could be used to transport cargo cutting down traffic congestion on the roads. This could be ideal for long distances.

 

 

The second alternative that is ideal for larger metropolitan areas and fast enough at 200 mph for longer work commuting trips is the skyTran. This is also much cheaper and better than the HSR.

 

 

Regardless, of what we do and decide, we must look beyond the current paradigm and have a vision that looks to solve the problems we have now and will face in the future. It’s time we dump the HSR and look to the future, not the past.

 


Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at cacontroller.com, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Democrats

Dear proponents of limited government: It’s time to start speaking up now

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Dear proponents of limited government Its time to start speaking up now

For nearly a year, I’ve given the Republican Party a pass for the most part. I left the party in 2016 and after pursuing a third party for over a year, life pulled me back from the fray. When things calmed down (thank you, Lord!), I made a conscious decision to be lighter in my condemnation of the GOP as a whole for two very important reason.

First, there were signs of life in the party. They were faint, but it seemed at times to be possible for the party to do some good things like eliminating bureaucracy, cutting taxes, promoting a business-friendly atmosphere, and making proper foreign policy moves. They were far from good, let alone ideal, but I thought if we could keep pressing them towards smart moves on the border, gun owners’ rights, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, and other areas in which they’ve failed so far, perhaps their decent work on taxes and regulations could be translated into other areas.

Second, the Democrats started to terrify me. Seriously, I’ve been contemplating moving the family to a remote area of Montana and going off the grid before the Democrats got their hands on enough power to do the damage they’ve been promising to do for the last year or so. I wasn’t one who thought Bill Clinton was a radical or Barack Obama was the antichrist. I always thought Clinton was a run-of-the-mill Democrat who could do some damage but not much, while Obama was an ambitious progressive who was nevertheless too smart to think he could make socialism a thing. Since the 2016 election, we’ve seen the Democratic Party go from progressives with bad ideas to far-left radicals who think the only way to go is to destroy America in a glorious explosion of their new Communist Manifesto, also known as the Green New Deal.

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Now that the GOP has demonstrated a toxic mixture of incompetence and false adherence to limiting government with their latest omnibus debacle, it’s time to return to my old stance of refusing to accept the binary choice. When choosing between bad and worse, it’s only a valid choice if the less-terrible option won’t kill you as well. The binary choice between hanging and drowning isn’t really a binary choice, and neither is the choice between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

There are three things that must be done going forward.

  1. Conservatives, Federalists, and Classical Liberals must find a way to united against the two party system. Whether that’s the formation of a new party (which I failed to do once already), a grassroots effort similar to the Tea Party (which worked for a short time before finding irrelevance), or some other method of unification against the putrid system that has engulfed nearly all of Washington DC, we have to find an outlet.
  2. NOQ Report will become a hub for bringing these thoughts together. This is something that I’ve found success with when I ran The New Americana. Now, it’s time to collect the voices of reason once again.
  3. Prayer. Lots of prayer.

I’ve reached out to some of my conservative and federalist friends. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see what can be done to make DC listen. In the meantime, be discerning and prepare to abandon the tribal mindset that has plagued this nation for too long.

 


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Democrats

Veronique de Rugy: Green New Deal would be hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars in federal commitment

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Veronique de Rugy Green New Deal would be hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars in federal commitment

If there’s a word that’s not necessarily negative one could use to describe the Green New Deal, it would be “ambitious.” The deal has so much wrapped into it that it’s hard to tell which components are designed to save the environment and which ones are intended to destroy the economy.

Estimates put costs for the “green side” of the resolution at somewhere between $12-$20 trillion. Then, there’s the Medicare-for-All component that is estimated at $32 trillion over a decade.

And that’s just the start.

This isn’t just a “green” deal. It’s a hodgepodge of policy proposals that include massively growing the welfare state, inserting government even more into the job markets, and a universal basic income that they refuse to actually call a universal basic income. The much-maligned FAQ that was posted and quickly removed from the website of sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) mentioned paying people who were unable or even “unwilling” to work.

“Even in the best case scenario where you substitute a UBI for all the other forms of welfare, it’s insane,” said Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, on ReasonTV.

But here’s the problem. The Green New Deal doesn’t substitute a universal basic income for other welfare programs. In the Green New Deal, the programs recommended are supposed to be additions, not substitutions.

“It’s a really hard system to support even in its ideal form,” de Rugy continued. “Then there’s this Green New Deal version which doesn’t even seem to entertain this notion of actually substituting for all the rest, so it’s on top of what we have now.”

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The real question we need to ask is whether or not the Democratic Party is actually going to support this. In its current form, the Green New Deal is a fantasy, and perhaps that’s what the more-sane Democrats are shooting for by supporting it. By giving it their attention now, they can work their way down to more reasonable proposals for everything from environmental protection to job creation programs to different versions of socialism.

In other words, they may be using the hyper-leftism of the Green New Deal as a gateway to get to the palatable leftism of what’s quickly becoming mainstream socialism.

The Green New Deal shouldn’t scare conservatives because it can’t happen. What should concern us is the end result negotiated down from this starting point. Given the GOP’s negotiating track record lately, we don’t know what we’re going to get when the Green New Deal is trimmed down to reality.

 


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Even Drudge can’t deny the insane spending by Washington DC today

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Even Drudge cant deny the insane spending by Washington DC today

What did GOP control of the House, Senate, and White House do to spending and the national debt? Did Republicans demonstrate the fiscal responsibility that has been one of their alleged traits for decades? Did they match the spending under Presidents Bush and Obama, maintaining the status quo? No, and no. They looked at the spending and debt accumulation of the past and said, “Hold my beer.”

It’s not just the Republicans’ fault, but asking Democrats to stop them when they’re on a spending spree is like asking a bartender to stop serving alcohol. It just doesn’t feel right to them and the results of bipartisanship have been quite apparent, as my friend Daniel Horowitz noted on Conservative Review:

The bipartisan spending binge is now worse than under Bush and Obama

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/bipartisan-spending-binge-now-worse-bush-obama/It feels like it was yesterday when I was watching the news as a kid with my parents in 1995, listening to Newt Gingrich, during the infamous shutdown fight, warn about the dire consequences of crossing the $5 trillion debt milestone. It feels like it was yesterday when I was writing press releases for candidates in “the year of the Tea Party” on how Obama and the Pelosi Congress took the debt to $14 trillion in such a short period of time. Now, over eight years into varying degrees of GOP control of Congress and the White House, we have crossed the $22 trillion mark, expanding the debt more rapidly than at any time in our history. Whereas the debt exploded by $5 trillion during Bush’s eight-year tenure, a shocking figure at the time, it has now increased $8 trillion just since Republicans controlled the House in 2011 and by $4 trillion over the past four years, since they controlled at least two of the three political organs of government.

It has become so bad that even Matt Drudge, whose conservative news aggregator Drudge Report has been consistently defending President Trump since well before the 2016 election, is starting to ask questions.

Drudge Spending Binge

Washington DC has had a spending problem for a century. Republicans run on solving this problem during election time, but they’re acting like Democrats between elections. It’s time to let them know we’re watching and we’re not happy about it.

 


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