Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sacrificing the Future to the Failure of the Present

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

California is staring into the abyss. 30 years of conservative economic policy, including tax cuts, have brought the national and the state economy to the worst economic crisis we have faced since 1933. The state budget is in perennial deficit - caused by those same conservative policies. Since Prop 13 in 1978 the state's revenue levels have been set artificially and deliberately too low to maintain our core services. The purpose was to force crises like this and tell Californians "either we raise your taxes or we destroy government."

The budget deficit is a difficult problem. But it can be closed fairly easily by returning to the income tax levels on the wealthy that Ronald Reagan supported, that were in place from 1991 to 1998. It is a question of political will - our budget deficit is not a force of nature but a deliberate creation of man. What we make, we can unmake.

More importantly, how exactly are we going to close that budget deficit, provide short-term relief and long-term economic growth without infrastructure projects? Many economists argue that government spending on infrastructure must be part of not just an economic stimulus *right now* but also of any financial rescue plan. These economists understand what we at this blog have understood - that we need stimulus to revive our economy.

Banks aren't lending just because of the bad assets on their books - they're not lending because the economy is sliding into recession. To stop that we need government spending on new stimulus. That was conventional wisdom during the Depression and it eventually brought us out of the depths - while also setting up the prosperity of the postwar era.

Unfortunately California newspaper editorial boards remain trapped in the failed conventional wisdom that brought us to this point of crisis. Instead of returning to tried-and-true economic principles of infrastructure stimulus, they argue we should sacrifice the future to the failure of the present. That because we are in crisis now, we cannot act to rescue ourselves from that crisis, and cannot act to provide a more stable future.

Such is the position of the Modesto Bee in its editorial against Prop 1A. They claim it is "too costly for the state." In doing so they merely demonstrate their lack of knowledge about high speed rail and their unwillingness to act to reverse the slide into severe recession.

The annual cost to operate the high-speed rail network would exceed $1 billion. Backers believe they can operate in the black. We're skeptical. Passenger rail systems throughout the United States require subsidies.

The Modesto Bee should NOT be skeptical. Every single HSR system around the world functions without operational subsidies. In France HSR is so profitable it subsidizes the other systems! Even Taiwan HSR has achieved profitability after just 18 months in operation. Of course we should remind the Modesto Bee that every other form of transportation in America is subsidized - but HSR stands on its merits. Ongoing subsidies are just not likely. The Modesto Bee misleads its readers in not mentioning that.

That aside, our main concern is the price. A review by the independent legislative analyst's office says that if the bonds are sold at an average interest rate of 5 percent and paid off over 30 years, the cost to the state general fund would be about $19.4 billion. That works out to about $647 million per year.

State legislators struggle to produce a budget year after year, and the current budget, just signed, is expected to be nearly $5 billion in the red unless drastic action is taken. As we noted in opposing Proposition 3, California can ill afford to encumber the general fund with more debt, especially the staggering cost for high-speed rail.

The Modesto Bee would do well to read Pete Stahl's "semi-biennial lecture on bonds". Pete reminds us that bonds are a fixed cost over time that become much easier to pay off as general fund revenues increase. Further, HSR construction will actually BOOST the general fund by providing increased income tax and sales tax revenue. Combined with the green dividend from HSR it is likely that it will pay for itself - the benefits to the general fund will equal or outweigh the ongoing bond service costs.

Newspapers like the Modesto Bee are suggesting that we were wrong to build Shasta Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression. Both required public bond financing to be constructed. Modesto STILL benefits from Shasta Dam water. Instead, according to papers like the Modesto Bee, we should have waited until the 1950s. Of course that would come at the cost of not only higher unemployment during the Depression - which is the last thing you need - but it would have limited our ability to have postwar growth.

The equation is very simple, people. Prop 1A = jobs now + long-term economic growth. California would be engaging in an act of extreme recklessness if it sacrificed the future because of the failures of the present. The best way to ensure that we continue to have unemployment and a budget deficit is to reject Prop 1A.

UPDATE: the same applies to the Sacramento Bee, which used the same logic to oppose Prop 1A.


Rafael said...

Voting down prop 1A will not fix the state's chronic budget woes. As long as a 2/3 majority is required to pass a budget, politicians will run up deficits and blame each other for it. It's a recipe for evading accountability.

Ironically, it only takes a simple majority of voters to approve a constitutional amendment via a ballot initiative.

@ robert cruickshank -

I think we've all told "anonymous" often enough by now that he should refrain from blogspamming. Please remove any posts that are mindless copy-paste jobs of articles already published elsewhere on the web. Links to such articles are of course fine, as is commentary on their content. Thx.

Robert Cruickshank said...

A proposal to end the 2/3 rule will be on the June 2009 special election ballot. You're absolutely right that we need to change that if we are to fix our budget woes.

As to the copy-paste jobs, I've been removing them as soon as I see them - already eliminated two from these comments just in the last 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

You're just a cowardly flak, Cruikshank.

Anonymous said...


You want to talk cowardly, the "derail" website doesn't even allow rebuttals to what they post. At least Robert allows postings without spamming. Grow up!

Anonymous said...

All of the posted comments are FOR the proposition! Who owns this paper? I find many of the anti-1a are from these out of state newsmedia owners..The MNG out of Denver has everyone of there papers put out an No on 1a..I cant wait to see what the San Jose Mecury News puts out..maby they wont listen to the party line out of Denver! The only way to get the word out is hopefully there readers will counter this Red State thinking

Anonymous said...

Because there are still ways to screw up the budget, we shouldn't vote down harmful spending? You're pathetic.

That's like saying: We shouldn't ban handguns at school because people can still stab each other with pencils. Ok. The problem with overspending is to start cutting spending. There are more useful things we need like EDUCATION.

Anonymous said... know your against school funding you wingnut..its like the the Jarvis whiners argument against Prop1a..they chrip that the state could hire 10,000 cops and techers ect..ect those tightwads would go for it. YES on 1A

Anonymous said...


Quite frankly I don't see how elimination of the 2/3 majority to pass a budget is going to solve running up deficits.

Is what you are suggesting, that a simple majority will then just raise the taxes? That's is certainly what would have happened this year.

Then you raise the taxes, and very shortly companies and people leave and the democratic majority in the legislature evaporates.

BTW, Robert this is your blog -- you can do whatever you want.

However, I would think that a heading should be added to all your posts, warning that certain kinds of postings will not be allowed.

If you want to say, only pro Prop 1A comments allowed that is ok with me. In my mind this issue has already been decided.

Anonymous said...


You write:

Since Prop 13 in 1978 the state's revenue levels have been set artificially and deliberately too low to maintain our core services. The purpose was to force crises like this and tell Californians "either we raise your taxes or we destroy government."

Now there are rumors that you have political ambitions. Good for you. If you were to run on this platform you would get no support from the business community and very little from the taxpayers.

As was pointed out by a previous poster, the country did not come out of the depression because of WPA programs in the early and mid-thrities. WW-II brought the country of depression.

Those kind of programs must come at the Federal level, not at the state level.

Quality of life should be of prime importance to all citizens. All you talk about is major population growth, which is being encouraged by both parties, but certainly heavier on the Democratic side.

HSR started this year as a pretty much non-partisian project. Only after the Lowenthal committee came out with their critical report, did opposition arise, and then it became a divided along party lines project.

The project is a bummer in my estimation and Prop 1A should be defeated. HSR could be an attractive alternative to other forms of transportation, but not when the project is directed by political forces.

I find Rafael to be the most informed and in-partial among the supporters of this project. He is upset with the route chosen, but not to the extent of opposing the project. That is his personal opinion and decision.

For me, I choose the opposite. If the State is going to make this kind of investment, then up front there should not nearly be the number of objections that have been raised.

As has been mentioned before, this project has had lousy leadership. This is truly too bad. This lousy leadership will lead to disaster, and that is already on the horizon.

Anonymous said...

If its along party lines then WE win!!! cause Obama is going to bury Mccaine here!! No I think this will pass in Fresno-Bakersfield-SF -LA -SJ .Because of the Wall Street fiacso it wont pass in the 58-62 range like it would have but I think it will squeak by.

Anonymous said...

The SF Guardian reported this week that the Reason Foundation has received $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. These guys are also climate change deniers! We can't let them flood the discourse with complete garbage. Let the people know who is writing their checks.


Anonymous said...

sounds to me like they paid a retainer for a pro-oil gun for hire. A front who could use the guise of "reason" and "libertarianism" to support the status-quo, and interests of their benefactors.

Anonymous said...

The Reason group is only there TO
attack ideas that dont follow party lines! The person in charge of there transportation opinions was on the Bush/Chenney election
team for god sakes!!Sorry I know there are Republicans in the valley that back this ..but really most people against this are from rightwing and or out of state groups

Rob Dawg said...

The first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging. California spends too much and taxes far less than it spends.

Your thesis revolves around two claims; we should spend more and that spending will not result in more taxation.

Don't get me wrong. I can find $9 billion over the next 8 years ten times over in projects and expenditures far less deserving than CAHSR. Given the chance I'd cut them and enthusiastically vote yes. Alas those choices are denied. Thus we find ourselves forced to vote against a worthy project because we cannot afford it.

There's a reason why past empires are defined by desperate acts of grandiose proportions.

Robert Cruickshank said...

rob, your argument isn't that CA can't afford HSR. Your argument is and has always been that HSR is a bad idea, something you personally oppose regardless of whether the state is facing a budget deficit or whether we have budget surpluses. Don't conflate the two.

Someone mentioned the Depression. The point is that then you're in one, you need jobs. Badly. You are not in a position to turn down projects that would create them. Shasta Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge did not end the Depression. But they helped ease it. Unemployment fell between 1933 and 1937 thanks to public works projects. They kept people fed and housed.

But then that's what this really is all about. It's not about HSR. Never was. This is really about whether or not California will have broadly shared economic prosperity in the 21st century, or whether those who benefited the most from the 20th century can protect their stash from everyone else.

Spokker said...

"If you want to say, only pro Prop 1A comments allowed that is ok with me."

Are you retarded? He's only deleting posts that contain an entire goddamn article in them with zero commentary. You can post as many anti-HSR comments on this blog as you want. They will not be deleted unless they are accompanied by a whole article, which only makes the comments harder to read.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Exactly, spokker. Whereas the HSR deniers' website refuses to allow comments of any kind, I've allowed critics of HSR to post here since the site's beginning.

Spokker said...

Check out page 33 on the California Budget Project's report "Should California cut its way to a balanced budget?"

It explains how California's tax system contributes to the budget gap.

Spokker said...

And what good did the tax cuts do? We're still struggling out there.

$4.8 billion alone wasn't collected so people could save a couple hundred bucks on their vehicle licensing.

Collect those taxes and build some goddamn infrastructure is what I'm saying.

And where the hell is all this money for education going? We spend all this money as K-12 to boot and the kids are still imbeciles. How about some accountability there?

Robert Cruickshank said...

The California Budget Project's work on the state budget is indispensable. Glad you cited them.

California has granted some $12 billion in tax cuts since 1993, all of which contribute to the current budget deficit. Much of that came between 1998 and 2003, when the state shortsightedly cut taxes during a temporary boom in revenues. The $6 billion vehicle license fee cut was one of the biggest hits to revenue.

Arnold unilaterally killed an effort to revive the VLF during the 2003 budget crisis - it was his very first act as governor. But CA still spends that $6 billion on aid to local governments and schools.

The budget crisis is a direct result of bad tax cut policy. The media plays along with the farce, pretending that it's some unstoppable force of nature. And now they want us to believe that we have to kill HSR, which will provide tax revenue and economic growth, as a result.

It doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

"Collect those taxes and build some goddamn infrastructure is what I'm saying."
My GOD someone with a BRAIN!!!
Or better yet instead of spending 700Billion on private business spend half of that on nationwide project like our proposed system? NO thats to wasteful to the Reason minds

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Those tax cuts all went to gasoline. So basically, our tax cut went to Saudi Arabia and Exxon Mobile.

Anonymous said...


You write:

The SF Guardian reported this week that the Reason Foundation has received $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. These guys are also climate change deniers! We can't let them flood the discourse with complete garbage. Let the people know who is writing their checks.

Dr. Adrian Moore was confronted with the statement that the Reason Foundation was funded by Oil interests. His answer was that was old history -- that they had not received money from them for quite some time.

I inquired as to the numbers. The last gift from them was for $10,000 in 2006 and before that was in 2002.

I am not a Reason Foundation member, but I think a fair evaluation would not lead one to believe they are influenced by Oil interests money.

That is a pretty slick comment from the SF Guardian, though isn't it.

You can say what you want, but Wendell Cox and Joseph Vranich are real experts in the field and their due diligence study should be taken very seriously.

Anonymous said...

Too much rhetoric is going around. Tax cuts lead to defecits while tax hikes are made unpopular by political advertising. How do we solve the defecits? Lowering taxes sure does not help at all. If everyone contributes a little bit, the pain is less in terms of defecits.
@yes on 1a

110% agree with that. 20 billion could be funded for the initial high speed rail segment which would cover the private and federal funding for the project and perhaps would allow expediting the Sacramento and San Diego extensions. 330 billion left to spend? Might as well start building HSR throughout the states.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 12:50pm -

there are only three ways to balance a budget: spend less, tax more or both. If passing a budget required only a regular majority, whichever party holds that majority becomes solely responsible for making that trade-off. If voters don't like the choice it makes, they can reverse the majority at the next election.

The current requirement of a 2/3 majority is supposed to force politicians on all sides to compromise. Unfortunately, the reality is the exact opposite: Democrats are unwilling to accept spending cuts and Republicans just as adamant about preventing tax hikes. The only thing they can agree on is kicking the can down the road by papering over the cracks with accounting gimmicks.

As for blogspamming: everyone and anyone is welcome to make statements for or against HSR and prop 1A. Just don't copy-paste content that has already been published elsewhere. Instead, please provide a link instead and optionally, add your own thoughts to that. Blogs exist to create new content, not to mindlessly duplicate someone else's. The issue isn't your opinion, it's your lack of netiquette.

Anonymous said...

A friend who knows someone over at the Authority says they a poll they ran recently obtained, showed massive change in voter sentiment on Prop 1A.

The new poll with about 45% saying they knew about the project now shows only 42% approving with 38% disapproving and rest undecided.

This is a huge decline from the 56% that was last reported. the feeling is that with the State budget problems and the national, really world wide financial crisis, voters are just not going to vote for this project. Sorry to report the bad news.

Rob Dawg said...

rob, your argument isn't that CA can't afford HSR. Your argument is and has always been that HSR is a bad idea, something you personally oppose regardless of whether the state is facing a budget deficit or whether we have budget surpluses. Don't conflate the two.

Robert, this is your blog but there is one thing you cannot do. You cannot tell people what they think. My argument is that we cannot afford HSR right now and we probably cannot afford this HSR for quite some time.

I would vote for a SF-LA HSR that took 3hr 20min and costs $43.1b 2006 dollars where half the money was identified up front from state sources. Problem is being that honest would in gaining my vote turn off hundreds of thousands.

Perhaps Robert, you could promise to cover any shortfall beyond some NTE cost? Name any figure you feel comfortable with supporting with your own money.

Or maybe a friendly wager? 10:1 odds in your favor. $100 to charity for every billion under $33 billion from me and $10 for every billion dollars over from you to charity.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 6:42am -

at this point, your numbers are unpublished hearsay.

It would not surprise me if some erstwhile supporters are re-evaluating their position in light of the global financial meltdown. As an individual, the natural instinct is to batten down the hatches by avoiding any non-essential spending.

Unfortunately, that misses two important points. The first is that voting against prop 1A would deprive existing local and regional passenger rail operators of $950 million they urgently need to cope with increased demand.

The second is that at least $8.1 billion of the prop 1A funds is reserved for HSR construction and could not be spent until and unless matching funds from non-state sources had been secured. In any case, no-one is suggesting that ground will be broken before 2012. That means the bulk of the bond volume will not need to be sold for many years yet. By then, California will either be in a robust recovery or we'll all be eating canned soup every day. HSR is an investment for the very long term. If built, there's every reason to believe it will be in service for many decades, perhaps even a century.

If global markets stabilize soon, the recession will be relatively shallow and brief, so the LAO's assessment that HSR is affordable without state tax hikes will hold true (if - big IF - it stays on budget).

If global markets spiral out of control, the recession will be severe and last for several years. In this worst-case scenario, HSR becomes a public works program to create jobs and prop up general consumer demand.

Bottom line: more than ever, now is the time to support HSR.

Anonymous said...

@anno..the no votes did not increase it seems.The solid yes appears to have moved to undecided but is still 42 percent.thats 20 percent unsure.If 9 percent of those vote yes then 1a wins.I hope that people will think for the future and this is going to be a huge turnout that will help our propostion. I know they dont have much money..this needs some kind of statewide mailer I still think it will win by a nose

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:10

I'm sorry then that you research skills are somewhat wanting, and Dr. Moore has a funny idea of "quite some time", Reason Foundation got $200,000 from Exxon in 2000 and between $10,000 and $50,000 every year thereafter through at least 2006.

Your heroes' Wendell Cox and Joe Varnich are hardly independent authorities on the subject either.

Wendell Cox is currently works for an oil front organization called Energy Tomorrow. Also, his transportation website is a real hoot. "URBAN RAIL: LESS TO LEASE CARS FOR NEW RIDERS", "HOW SMART GROWTH EXACERBATED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS", for real! these are the titles of some of his articles.

Joseph Vranich is great fun too. Check out his blog "Replacing Amtrak"

or pick up a copy of one of his many books,
"End of the Line: The Failure of Amtrak Reform and the Future of America's Passenger Trains" or how about
"Derailed: What Went Wrong and what to Do about America's Passenger Trains", or my favorite "
A Plan to Liquidate Amtrak".

Are you serious!

Anonymous said...

In a worst case scenario we run out of money for HSR and the government steps in and throws in new contractors. By then we would've overspent and now new contractors and a new job would take another 50% increase in costs.

You are all dreaming if you think the money ends HERE. States don't hold contractors to deadlines with accountability and crap. You know that for any contractor, it does them the best to stall and take forever to finish a project. If this was a crucial war-time project, I bet you the job would be finished in 3 years. But seriously. Overbudget, overexaggerated benefits, overrunning the timetable. Hah.

Fact is, we cannot afford HSR. Budget problems FTW

njh said...

The critical thinking in the comments on this blog is going downhill fast. We have people calling each other names (hint, prefacing your opening with things like 'pathetic' does not strengthen your position).

We have people whose argument strategy is to simply restate random numbers in the hope that they will somehow shift people's opinion.

We have people who believe that the more words you write, the more weight what you say carries.

We have people who create false dichotomies ("If you aren't going to spend money on HSR, then magically transport will solve itself; therefore if we stop prop 1a the state will save money" - clearly transport needs will increase so the discussion should be about effectiveness of alternatives).

Or try and move the debate to party lines (the problem with you wingnuts/lefties/libertarian-gun-nut/communists...).

And we have people who believe that a valid response to an idea is to simply spout random other ideas (which may or may not be true) in an effort to bury things.

I hereby propose that we build an argument map to make a serious attempt to map out the issues of CaHSR. Otherwise we are going to just degenerate into bickering and fighting (and 'oo killed 'oo). I believe that Robert is a fair chairman and perhaps can work out a way to build a shared map on his blog (either by adding some other software, using an existing service such as a wiki page, or even simply maintaining a single page for the arguments). Heck, we could just start a page on Wikipedia: Analysis of issues surrounding California Proposition 1A.

As a trivial example of what I'm suggesting, I've made an attempt on my blog. Of course we would want to provide links to support claims.

Rafael said...

In his latest op-ed, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria sees a Silver Lining to the current financial crisis. An excerpt:

"In the short term, all the solutions to the current crisis require that governments take on more debts and larger obligations. This is inevitable and necessary. But that doesn't mean we should, as some noted economists advocate, stimulate the economy with more tax cuts. [...] A far better stimulus would be to announce and expedite major infrastructure and energy projects, which are investments, not consumption, and therefore have a much different effect on the country's fiscal fortunes."

Exactly! Projects like ... California's HSR system, the Westside extension of LA Metro's Purple Line and, San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal.

Anonymous said...

@njh...The problem is IT IS along party lines. Why would a newspaper chain out of state push everyone of its opinion pages to vote No on 1A? Why does the Reason Foundation ect ect go Wall Street Journal ect to denounce this
project? If you notice the anti-rail group has been name call for a LONG time..maby some of us fight back..I look for there lies on the web and try and respond..because that is where thousands of voters see it..please also help out there

Spokker said...

njh, this isn't speech and debate. People don't have time to go and hunt down links to sources. I've got to work two jobs and go to school on top of that. All you're going to get from me is, "Hey numbnuts, we need more trains."

Anyway, the Alameda Corridor is a good example of a large and complex rail project staying on schedule and under budget. We crow about the Big Dig and whatever else, but seem to forget the good things.

Rob Dawg said...

Why would a newspaper chain out of state push everyone of its opinion pages to vote No on 1A?

You mean like the LATimes advocating a yes vote? Sauce, goose, gander.

njh said...

yes: If you can't present the argument neutrally you'll never get more than 40% of the vote (or whatever the party line vote is). Surely CaHSR should stand on its merits?

spokker: If you are unwilling to find supporting evidence, why should anyone listen to what you have to say? Isn't it better to have a few strong facts than lots of waffle?

If we had a central argument map your contribution that the Alameda Corridor is a positive example of successful infrastructure construction/funding could be pointed out once, and precisely.

I think the No camp is winning/more persuasive for the simple reason that it can get its arguments together.

Spokker said...

"spokker: If you are unwilling to find supporting evidence, why should anyone listen to what you have to say?"

Because it's the Internet. It's a bunch of rabble, rabble by a bunch of jerks like you and I. No one cares and few people even read this stuff. When people go to the polls in November I think that over half of the people who vote on Prop 1A are seeing it for the first time in the voting booth.

They should put this slogan on the polling places. "Come to vote for the president, stay to vote down bond measures and civil rights for gays!" That's all people are really going to do, let's be honest.

There aren't many people like me and others who have already written down in their voter information guide how they intend to vote.

Supporting evidence? The most important indicator of what we think of people is whether we agree with them or not.

I didn't have any supporting evidence but you obviously listened to me about the Alameda Corridor. You only listened to me because you happened to agree that it was a good project.

Listen, arguing on the Internet is fun, but I don't take it too seriously because it doesn't mean a whole lot in the end.

Of the sites I frequent, transit related blogs and forums receive the fewest comments. It's a ghost town in transit land.

Anonymous said...

And here comes the problem. You are all assuming the federal government will step in to dump money to us. We put in $10 billion and the feds will dump that to us no questions asked. First of all, Obama-Biden or any candidate at this point is just pure talk. They support infrastructure including HSR blah blah blah, it's all generalizations. I think you need to get a grip when you read Obama's website for what he plans on accomplishing because the same was said in 1993 and Clinton broke too many promises. The same happened with Dubya. So what gives? Obama can't even give us solid numbers how much he wants to invest in rail transportation. At least with renewable energy he tells us $15 billion for 10 years. He supports it. Does this mean Obama is going to push for it? Who knows? I can bet you this too. EVERYONE at heart supports HSR. You call us deniers for not wanting 1A but it doesn't mean we don't think HSR is good. We all recognize the benefits of HSR. That's why for those who are simply voting because "Oooh it's a 2.5 hour journey, how cool" are obviously drooling like those who flocked to Obama instead of Hillary because "change" sounded so refreshing and was so inspiring.

I don't care who takes office come January 20th but I bet you both McCain and Obama support HSR. Whether funding will come or not will unlikely be because of either candidate but because someone from CA lobbies to throw HSR spending in some bill.

It's all in the air, and it's rubbish when you act as if there's some guarantee that the federal government will provide the funds we NEED. That's the key. I don't care if they contribute. $50 million is chump change when you need $10 billion from them. Having people talk about supporting HSR and one rep going to talk to another about CA HSR is not going to cut it. I still havent seen you provide anything showing politicians pushing CA HSR on the national level yet.

Then comes the fact that there are competing HSRs around the nation. We've talked about Texas for over 10 years now and there's still nothing, but if there are so many other ones out there, even if 1A passes, where's the guarantee our HSR will get the money? It's all in the air and there's nothing even concrete out there.

Federal funding and CA HSR is going to work like this: We pass 1A and we hope the government steps in to fund us. They probably will, but we don't know how much. There's no numbers out there and in all likelihood it will be too little. So obviously money is not going to fall out of the sky, so what do we do? Hmmm lets either: a) raise taxes, b) pass another bond, or c) privately finance this. This is like going to a bar with $5 with your best friend. You hope he covers you or else ... well you'll figure the rest out later. However none of it is for certain except that you have $5.

Why do you call those against 1A as deniers? It's pathetic. It's like really you are all dreamers then, but whatever. Oh, and we're not Hoovers because we don't believe in spending money on this. I think we all learned our lesson from Hoover and that's intervention is necessary in a depression. It's something both dems and republicans don't want but it must be done. The biggest problem with Hoover was to raise taxes and to jack up protective tarrifs. Hoover was not anti-public works. He had the RFC which was small but it was the stepping stone for the New Deal acts. So first of all, I'd like to say that many of us against 1A are probably conservatives and if you haven't realized conservatives like low taxes, so please don't go calling us Hoovers.

Oh and instead of throwing out these articles about the Great Depression or how public works projects gives us jobs, throw me something more CA HSR relevant. I've already acknowledged that government projects do give us jobs and jumpstart the economy. I don't think anyone denies that. But you have to be spending the right money for the right things. The war doesn't particularly help our economy and nor does pouring billions into useless entitlement programs. $40 billion is a huge amount of money, and I guarantee you the high cost is due to the high tech involved in HSR. It's just very costly on a per mile basis. Huge projects like airport expansions cost a lot less (SJC cost $1 billion to expand).

I agree that HSR will benefit CA enormously and so do many people who vote against 1A. But now is not the time. I'm not saying just not spend this money at all. I'd rather see this money spent on other public works that we NEED.

You know what CA really needs?

1) BART needs to be upgraded to go around the Bay. LA needs its metro to cover the entire area especially the OC and Ventura county.

2) soCal freeways need to be expanded so they aren't a clusterfuck. You know it as well as I do that when you sit in LA traffic for 3 hours to drive a 20 minute leg that it's ridiculous. When the 405 is clogged even at 9:30pm and I have to consider local routes, you know something is wrong. The federal government should step in to pay for some of this because you should also know that the Port of LA is huge and an upgraded infrastructure system in SoCal can help the ENTIRE NATION in terms of products travelling. You also know that people NEED to drive in CA and the rest of the US. HSR will reduce SF to LA carflow but what we need is relief in our cities.

SF and the East Bay have terrible commutes too, and we need money desperately to widen our highways. You all claim it won't do anything, but it will, and even if you don't do it now, you still need to do it later. It's a fact. If you want to ease the commute in these areas, push for better busses, a REAL SUBWAY SYSTEM, and local transportation systems. HSR is not meant to deal with these things.

3) Vegas to LA is a bigger clusterfuck than I-5. In fact I-5 is totally fine, and it's better than any major highway in LA or the Bay. Vegas and LA are also in 2 different states and if anything a link here would boost interstate commerce. However, this is another costly thing.

4) Finish the Bay Bridge ok? This thing is a disaster waiting to happen and with major cost overruns already, this is your classic example of a public works project not finishing on time and running way overbudget.