California has problems. After years of drought, last year’s deluge caused the Oroville Dam to burst, costing nearly $1 billion. Meanwhile, the welfare rolls are swelling, and the millionaires on whom the state depends for its tax revenues are leaving the state in droves. This would seem to be a time to get back to basics, but proponents of the high-speed rail are plowing ahead with the project despite delays, lawsuits, and cost overruns. The original bond measure — Proposition 1A — passed in 2008, with a slim majority of Californians voting for a state of the art, 220mph, electrified train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It was to be partly funded by taxpayer money, and partly by private investment. Now, the project has morphed into a patchwork of conventional and high-speed rail, and encountered serious issues at the earliest, and allegedly easiest, stages of construction. There are now big questions for those private investors, who were supposed to emerge to foot the remainder of the bill for what is no longer the high-speed project it was supposed to be. For these reasons and more, one of the proposition’s original most ardent advocates — Judge Quentin Kopp — has turned on the idea. In fact, he now says it’s “almost a crime.” Kopp is a retired judge and former Chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority. He served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and in the California State Senate and joins the show to explain how the high-speed rail has gotten so far off track.
High-Speed Bankruptcy – The California Way, with Adrian Moore – February 12, 2012
In this episode, Bob welcomes Adrian Moore of Reason Magazine to his show. The topic – high-speed rail in California and around the country. High-speed rail is the intersection of crony capitalism, wealth transfers to unions and the hocking the future. Why must politicians always find the total absence of a need and then fill it with massive spending? If California proceeds with this project, it will make Boston’s Big Dig seem like the paving of a driveway. Adrian’s expertise and Bob’s exasperation will provide with a week’s worth of adrenalin. Take a valium and tune in.
Whose Transportation System Is It Anyway?, with Bob Poole, March 17, 2013
Think back. In the past week have you moved from one place to another? Traveled to work? To Another City? If so, did you travel by car, by plane, by light rail, by “heavy” rail, subway, or by bus? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must catch this episode with Bob Poole, a founder of Reason Magazine and its Director of Transportation Policy. Whether we’re talking about private toll roads, privatization of airports, Amtrak or High-Speed Rail, light rail systems in cities, or intercity buses (remember Greyhound?) your life (and your pocketbook) is affected by transportation policy. As you’ll hear in this podcast, whatever the transportation problem, government is the problem and free markets are the answer.
Who Is Transit For? Randal O'Toole on Bay Area Planners, Aug. 19, 2014
In this episode, Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute joins Bob to discuss how Plan Bay Area will impact the local landscape and lives of Bay Area residents. O'Toole is equipped with the hard facts and figures that demythologize public transit, including the most romantic transportation method of all: the lofty rail. Why the seeming obsession with this outdated technology? Could the real driving force behind the fixation on rail be how well it fits in with regional planners' latest scheme for "smart growth," aka "urban densification"? As O'Toole writes, it's clear that transit has become a source of political favors to unions, downtown property owners, and rail contractors. It's less clear who else reaps the benefits.
- Quentin Kopp, no longer on board this bullet train, LA times
- VIDEO: The Politician Behind California High Speed Rail Now Says It's 'Almost a Crime', Reason.com
- California's bullet train is running off track. A state audit could keep it from derailing, LA Times
- Medium Post: Let’s Talk About California’s “High-Speed” Rail
- Hanson: Will California's high-speed rail become a Stonehenge?, San Jose Mercury News
- California Proposition 1A - Wikipedia