First things first, let’s set some parameters for this article.
One – California’s High Speed Rail network is not going to be built. At this point, that’s a given.
Two – Even it were to be built and managed to hit its ridership projections it would require that 140 loaded-to-capacity trains would have to move both north and south each day. That means a train carrying 1,000 people would have to leave from both ends of the system every eight minutes.
Three – Those numbers, when compared against operating expenses and debt repayment, would have to translate into an average per person fare of about $150 each trip. And remember that not every trip will travel the entire length of the system, meaning the round-trip cost from LA to San Fran will run well over $400 if the system is to break even (depending upon how you buy your ticket, at least double if not triple what a flight on Southwest costs).
So, instead of spending $100 billion (a number that will continue to rise) on a system that is a decade beyond schedule (another number that will continue to rise), and even if the waters part and the planets align and a literal Deus ex Machina moment occurs and it does get finished it will still have no hope of matching the speeds and ticket prices DEMANDED of it in the original bond, what else could California have done with the money?
Those playing along at home may recall a similar article regarding the looting of the EDD – click here if you care to refresh your memory. And some of the expenditure concepts will be similar to the previous article.
In no particular order, one hundred billion dollars would pay for:
- Cover the entirety of the EDD fraud-generated debt plus leave about $70 billion aside for when, not if, the unemployment agency gets fleeced again…and again…and again.
- At about $700,000 per 500 square-foot unit (yes, that’s the going price now), every homeless person in the state could be given a free apartment.
- If, for whatever reason you would wish to, you could pave Death Valley.
- The Salton Sea could be restored every decade until the year 2300.
- San Diego could get three – not just one – floating airports.
- The entire shortfall in the CalSters teacher pension could be funded (or just most of the CalPers shortfall).
- The state could provide free insulin for four years to every diabetic Californian.
- Put into a trust, it would be enough money to cover the cost of every organ transplant procedure and the treatment of every Californian with HIV forever.
- According to the current total assessed property value, California taxpayers could buy Marin County and every building in it.
- Phil Mickelson could lose $10 million per year (which he reportedly has been doing) gambling for the next 10,000 years.
- You could build and stock 10 new Getty museums (better than a koi pond in the backyard, wouldn’t you say?).
- Instead of Stanford students paying $80,000 a year to go to school, each could actually be paid $150,000 per year to attend, year in, year out.
- Every bald Californian – no matter the age – could get free hair transplants.
- At the current clip, California could match the federal military aid budget for Ukraine for 14 years.
- Or the state could simply double Ukraine’s gross domestic product for a year.
- Every child in the state could go to private school for a year (fun fact: average private school tuition is nearly identical to the amount the public system pays per student – wonder who is getting the better deal?).
- The state could pay $8 million to every resident of the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu and simply buy the country.
- On a transportation note, $100 billion placed in a trust would generate enough money each year to make all Bay Area and Southland public transit free of charge for eternity.
Continuing in a mobility frame of mind, NASA is planning to spend about $230 billion on its proposed manned mission to Mars in 2035. The high-speed rail funds would cover nearly half of that, or about one way of the round trip.
The rail project would – at its lengthiest – connect San Diego and Sacramento, a journey of about 550 miles.
The trip from Earth to Mars is about 110,000,000 miles.
Guess who is getting the better deal?
Note on methodology – While the comparison numbers above may be somewhat rounded they are, in fact, extremely well-grounded and are based upon reviews of business and government, etc. websites and other reliable sources of information.
- What Else California Could Have Done With the High-Speed Rail Funds - July 25, 2022
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