To kill off, once and for all, the laughably, ludicrous California High-Speed Rail project (CAHSR), critics may have to resort to techniques Slavic vampire slayers used like garlic necklaces or stakes plunged through the beast’s heart.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has revived California’s multiple-times failed rail boondoggle. Buttigieg suggested that President Joe Biden’s massive, rambling, incoherent $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure bill to, allegedly, upgrade roads, highways, bridges and airports could also include a boost for California’s beleaguered rail mission. It turns out, however, that a 25 pages long factsheet from the White House breaking down the bill’s details showed that less than 6 percent, or $115 billion, of Biden’s monstrosity would be directly spent on infrastructure. The whopping 94 percent balance would be spent on controversial social policies that Democrats could never pass as standalone bills, many of them Green New Deal-related concepts.
Of the $80 billion that’s earmarked for rail expansion, $20 billion of which is set aside for intercity transportation, Buttigieg hinted that “potentially” some funding could be funneled to California’s bullet train. The bill’s final draft hasn’t been written, so no one really knows what the specifics may include. What’s certain, however, is that Biden will approve spending more dollars that the federal treasury doesn’t have.
In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said last week that the deficit for the first half of the budget year – from October through March – hit a record $1.7 trillion, nearly double the total from the same period last year. The deficit has been driven higher by trillions of dollars in support Congress passed in successive economic rescue packages, which included $339 billion in stimulus checks issued during March alone.
The latest spending round came in a $1.9 trillion measure that President Biden pushed through Congress last month, adding to the already substantial federal debt. Writing in Human Events, journalist David Krayden noted that at the rate he’s going, “Biden will soon have amassed a debt that compares to the total amount of government debt accrued from George Washington to Biden’s own presidency.”
Soaring deficits aside, the Biden administration is determined to pass its wasteful American Jobs Plan. Even the thinnest dime spent on CAHSR is money down the drain. In 1996, CAHSR was created with an eye toward getting a ballot initiative before voters in 1998 or, at the latest, the 2000 election. Twelve long and contentious years after CAHSR was formed, in 2008 voters approved a $9 billion measure to begin rail line construction. After that, cost projections soared; plans were revised; legal challenges were filed; and environmentalists mounted vigorous objections to the degradation building the bullet train would create. And amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly, no one in Sacramento had the slightest idea what the rail’s ridership may eventually be or what fare would have to be charged to defray perpetually mounting costs.
U.S. Representative David Valadao, a Republican whose San Joaquin Valley District has been adversely impacted by the train, spoke on behalf of Central Valley residents devastated by the high-speed rail, some of which have been forced to sacrifice their land, businesses and homes for a project that would offer them few, if any, benefits. Valadao said, “The project is behind schedule, nearly $70 billion over budget and will not deliver on the promises it made to voters regarding speed, travel times and usage levels.”
The infrastructure bill and any financial assistance it may provide for the doomed CAHSR is bad enough. But within the last few days, Capitol Hill rumors have surfaced that infrastructure may translate to an illegal alien amnesty, scuttlebutt that Buttigieg refuses to deny. In exchange for their infrastructure support, the Congressional Progressive Caucus wants to include amnesty for certain immigrants in the sprawling legislation. If the extreme progressive wing of the Democratic Party succeeds in its goal to include amnesty, then the already politically corrupt infrastructure bill becomes even more dishonest.