Let’s see, where were we? As the sun set in the west, the feds made it clear that if California wants to get its hands on that federal money for the high speed rail line eventually connecting San Diego and San Francisco, it will have to complete its first 120-mile segment by September 2017. For openers, to accomplish that, the railroad builders will require 120 permits from different regulatory bodies, will have to acquire 1,100 parcels of land for the right of way, and will have to spend money at the rate of $3.5 million per day, or $2,430.55 per minute, 24/7.
The problem is that it has never been done on that scale before. Earlier feats of California public project building efficiency had a money “burn rate” — love that term! — of only $1.8 million a day, and even given California’s well earned reputation for profligacy, the idea of doing so at twice the earlier rate gives one pause. And did we mention that the project is now months behind schedule?
We suggest you read all about it in Ralph Vartabedian, High-Speed Spending: Bullet Train May Need $3.5 Million a Day, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2012 — click here.
And oh yes, just the other day California Governor Jerry Brown let it be known that past estimates of the budget deficit that is facing California this year, were optimistic, and that the projected deficit for the coming year is now up to $16 billion, which will require severe cuts in state spending.
For a fuller treatment of California’s budgetary problems see Adam Nagourney, Fiscal Woes Boomerang for Brown in California, N.Y. Times, May 14, 2o12, at p. A1 — click here.