Today’s California newspapers report breathlessly that — ta,da! — work is starting on the delayed bullet train. Ralph Vartabeian, Work Starting on the Bullet Train, L.A. Times, Jan. 5, 2015, p. 1A (above the fold). But before you get all in an uproar and rush out to buy some California Choo-Choo bonds, be advised that nothing has been done yet, and the foo-foo of which Mr. Vartabedian writes will be more in the nature of a ground-breaking ceremony, rather that the start of actual construction. Mr. Vartabedian who impresses us as a knowledgeable dude, adds this:
“But the milestone marked by Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony also will serve as a reminder of the enormous financial, technical and political risks still faced by the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco project.
Rail officials haven’t yet lined up the funds needed to complete the initial system over the next 14 years. Construction is starting two years later than the state had promised. Acquisition of private property is going slower than expected. And they have yet to finalize legal agreements with two of the nation’s most powerful private freight railroads that are concerned about how a bullet train network will affect their operations.
To say nothing of the fact that Congress is in the process of being taken over by Republicans who — it says here — are likely to be considerably more inhibited in giving away the federal taxpayers’ money to California to help fund Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s California Choo-Choo.