California's High-Speed Rail Fibs

Estimating the cost to build additional highway and airport capacity in the absence of the rail line requires estimating how many people would be attracted to the train from cars and planes. But that's not how they did the math, judging by the methodology the authority published. Proponents based their estimate on train capacity (including empty seats) of 1,000. Their rail plan calls for trains with only 500 seats, but this fictional doubling of capacity nicely boosts the amount of highway construction they can claim would be needed if the train line isn't built. The authority also assumed that more than twice as many trains would run as they now plan to run when the line is complete. They even include the cost of some highway expansions that would not be needed for hundreds of years at normal growth rates. All of this is absurd. Empty seats do not increase the demand for roads (or airports, for that matter). Yet inflating the amount of new highways that would have to be built is the name of this game. By imagining huge new demand for train travel and other false premises, for instance, rail planners concluded that it would be necessary to add three lanes to each adjacent highway segment to handle the same demand, whether in the busy Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas or the far lower-demand segments in the San Joaquin Valley. They also doubled the supposed cost of road construction by assuming that the state would need to build three lane expansions on both Interstate 5 and the parallel state Route 99 between places like Bakersfield and Fresno.

Comment: Image source: The famous Train wreck at Gare Montparnasse, Paris, France, 1895. Trains is a real Obama favorite project ... whether it makes financial sense or not!

1 comment:

  1. False witness to confiscate 100 billion bucks from taxpayer pockets...isn't that perjury?

    Another interesting thought is that (as I discussed on the same topic) when you get too many trains on a line, it's not just wear and tear, but flat out dangerous.


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