California Bullet Train — Impossible as Designed

The latest on the misbegotten San Diego to San Francisco “bullet train” whose projected cost has soared to north of $98 billion, turns out to be that it is an engineering impossibility. It turns out that there was some sneaky fine print in the proposition submitted to the voters authorizing it. It mandated , and still does, that when operational, the train must travel from San Diego to San Francsico  in 2 hours and forty minutes. How come? Because, according to the Los Angeles Times, a fellow whom the Times identifies as Mehdi Morshed, “the longtime chief executive of the rail authority who retired last year after a 30-year career promoting high-speed rail,” admitted to the L.A. Times that he was “the one who insisted on putting the times in.” Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel, Bullet  Train Travel-Time Mandate Addso Ballooning of Costs, L.A. Times, December 15, 2011, — click on,0,1729184.story.  But it turns out that if (as presently contemplated) the route is laid out through Palmdale, which will result in a “dogleg” taking those trains out of the way eastward instead going straight north along Interstate 5, a 2-hour and forty minutes travel time is not doable.

And as if that were not enough, it also turns out that in a recent poll, a majority of California respondents indicated that they would like to see another vote on that train thing, and of those, a majority indicated that, evidently having learned the true cost of this caper, they would not vote for it again.

Your tax money at work.

Follow up. For an L.A. Times discussion of the high speed rail controversy, complete with charges of improprietioes, click here.