Shovel Ready Rail

AGV High Speed Rail in the Czech Republic

AGV High Speed Rail in the Czech Republic

This picture is of high speed rail in the Czech Republic, not the subject of this article, but I liked the look of the picture. It is also representative of the kind of rail we are likely to get here in California.

California High Speed Rail – About $10 Billion

Some years ago California passed a bond issue to install high speed rail between major population centers of the state (San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Los Angeles Basin are generally considered the three main anchor points of transportation systems here). IIRC, it was a $10 Billion bond authorization.

As years have past, we’re most likely thorough a lot of the early ‘admiration’ phase of paperwork and ought to be getting close to a bid. (Close in government terms, probably a couple of more years…) So this is pretty close to being one of those Ideal Green Shovel Ready Projects that the “stimulus” is supposed to fund.

It’s a fuel efficient and energy saving project. It works against the “evil auto” and will be powered by electricity that, at least in theory, can come from wind, solar, and geothermal projects here in California. And being an ‘infrastructure’ project on US Soil (and in a staunchly Democratic state) it ought to funnel money to the favored classes of Democrats. It has everything in it’s favor. It is even government run.


Reality Meets Theory

Well, the reality is that this project will ‘go to bid’ and the idea is that low bidders will get the work. So who’s bidding? Who has the high speed rail experience to build this project, the low costs to win the bid, AND is even willing to cover the financing with tons of US Dollars of financing?


The Chinese government has signed cooperation agreements with the State of California and General Electric to help build such lines. The agreements, both of which are preliminary, show China’s desire to become a big exporter and licensor of bullet trains traveling 215 miles an hour, an environmentally friendly technology in which China has raced past the United States in the last few years.

Yes, China. But don’t worry, by the time the deal is signed it will show up as GE doing the contracting. Just the money will come from China, be washed through GE and the State, and return to China. Along with all the manufacturing jobs to make the rail, infrastructure, rolling stock, tooling, …

IMHO, this is a stellar example of how “stimulus” is going to fail and why it’s not making jobs in America. We are focused on SPENDING (even on ‘shovel ready’ projects like rail) and not on MAKING via investment by private enterprise. We would be much better off with a general tax cut (letting our businesses be more cost competitive on the bids) and with NO stimulus. We don’t need more Government meth or cocaine, we need to go through withdrawal, dry out, and get a job.

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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4 Responses to Shovel Ready Rail

  1. PhilJourdan says:

    Don’t worry. Under the current regime, all they have to do is get the labor unions to protest it and the chinese will lose. ;)

  2. Gnomish says:

    When I saw statistics for BART, it said the cost was then $5000 per passenger.mile.

    It didn’t sound economical at all.

  3. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Liberals don’t comprehend economics. They are only into the BIG PICTURE. Somebody else can figure out how to pay for it.

    “Don’t tax you, Don’t tax me, we’ll tax that guy behind the tree” LBJ :-( pg

  4. Larry Geiger says:


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