California Choo-Choo — Get Set, Get Ready, Get Permits

We don’t always believe everything we read in the papers, but even so, we take note of a dispatch duly reported in the Los Angeles Times (Ralph Vartabedian, U.S. Clears Bullet Train Construction, L.A. Times, Sep. 20, 2012, at p. AA3), informing us that Uncle Sam has blessed the California high-speed train, and given his permission to proceed with the construction of the first link of the high-speed train line between Merced and Bakersfield, thereby allowing the railroad authority to acquire some 1000 parcels of land for the 130-mile right of way. At least that will provide gainful employment for condemnation lawyers, and forensic appraisers.

But if you are thinking that this is the opening shot in the construction of an actual rail line, better think again. Before that happens, there is the matter of permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and probably others. “Those approvals,” says the Times, “would normally take six months  or more.” But not to worry, “the state is working to expedite the procedure.” Rots of ruck on that one, fellows.