But a funny thing happened on the way to the station. Since a Central Valley-only spoke could be so toxic to the larger project, returning federal dollars for now (which the state might have to do anyway if they don't complete the project in time) until an administration more friendly to transit infrastructure comes in might be wiser. Chester and Horvath estimated that it would take high-speed rail 71 years of operation at medium occupancy to offset its own construction-related greenhouse-gas emissions. We can concede that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is not a model of adept governance. With fewer riders shifting from alternative modes that produce less greenhouse-gas emissions, high-speed rail’s climate change benefits will likely be much less than expected. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the California bullet train project’s number one challenge has been poor management of its efforts to acquire land. Nowhere have I ever worked where I had to keep going back to the same owners for more land.” Another said that “I am going to ride this train, but I am afraid it is going to be my ashes in an urn. With possible federal contributions, this idea sounded promising enough that nearly 53 percent of California taxpayers voted for a $9 billion bond in 2008 to help finance it. The 168-page report attempts to counter those critics by emphasizing the $3 billion already going to so-called “bookend” projects in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. If our electricity comes from renewable sources by then, high-speed rail would be replacing car trips that don’t produce greenhouse-gas emissions. Great Decisions: America in the World: Session 3: Tsars, Trade, and T-Cells. Mismanagement of property purchases has resulted in increased costs, lawsuits, delays in construction, along with the initiation of a federal investigation. The building contractor can only tell you how much it costs if there are no “surprises.” But there are always “surprises” in renovating old houses. The draft plan says that sticking to the Central Valley plan brings the highest speed (up to 220 mph), the largest ridership and revenue increases, the most traffic congestion relief and the greatest air quality benefits over competing options. Five Southern California Democratic legislators, led by powerful Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, said in a statement that they are disappointed in the new plan and will “insist that discussions include our proposed alternative that provides for early service investments in other high-speed rail corridors while also continuing work in the Central Valley.” But this is California, where nutty things happen, and this could be just about the nuttiest. Since 2016, when construction began, there are numerous active construction sites, with more anticipated each year. Would you believe that expensive environmental reviews of routes that will most likely never be built are continuing? Assemblyman Jim Patterson, who represents Fresno and is one of the project’s harshest critics, cited Democrats’ infighting over available money. Opinion: California overstates bullet train climate benefits. Ongoing negotiations with "remaining third parties.". Newsom announced that the route connecting Bakersfield and Merced is still planned to be built. Policymakers need to learn from this, and fast, because we need high-speed rail in America. Discover announcements from companies in your industry. Possible right-of-way acquisition delays. Of course, even with the federal money, this project would not come close to passing a cost-benefit test. Although it is making progress and putting Californians to work on the bullet train … society. In 2010, the federal government agreed to provide over $3 billion in funding from Obama’s stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The land challenge is just one of the many since the authority began the project. Newsom tabled the lion's share of the project, the nature of the project was significantly altered. Although it is making progress and putting Californians to work on the bullet train … California's bullet train tragedy is a cautionary tale on numerous levels. While the Dec. 31 deadline is not the only reason stated in the FRA's decision to revoke the funding agreement, that achievement could assist the authority in demonstrating that it can indeed meet performance requirements. Get Morning Report and other email newsletters. If the only high-speed train in the country is a veritable ghost town, how would supporters possibly persuade other cities to take up their own versions? And by the way, Los Angeles to San Francisco is the busiest air travel segment in the U.S. by far. Since voters approved high-speed rail in 2008, electric car technology has improved greatly, and state policies have accelerated the transition to zero-emission vehicles. The currently projected available funds are only about a quarter of what’s needed to complete the full project. As states with new Republican governors sent back stimulus funds for their bullet train concepts, California scooped them up, eventually receiving $3.5 billion in federal dollars. The larger point is that Green New Deal supporters must draw lessons from this nightmare. You can sign up as a subscriber with a range of benefits, including an opt-in to receive the print magazine by mail. And there is more bad news. But it’s completely reasonable and necessary to use trains as a replacement for short-haul travel.