Throw them in jail. From Coyote:
California voters — unskeptical, unrealistic, and gullible — nevertheless trusted their elected and unelected technocrats in Sacramento to be telling them the truth when they agreed to a $9.95 billion bond issue for high speed rail. It turns out, even according the HSR’s most fervent supporters, that the numbers that were used to sell the bond issue were total crap,
So they told they public the rail line would have 117 million annual riders, when even an estimate of 5 million is probably high. Jeff Skilling is in jail for a far less substantial exaggeration of his business prospects.
Of course voters were idiots to accept these numbers, when 5 minutes of research would have shown them absurd (the media did nothing to help, of course). One relevent factoid:
The current air passenger traffic between LAX and SFO is 2.7 million a year
But we are going to have tens of millions of rail customers. Right.
I wonder if riders will be able to play Words With Friends during trips?
$9 billion worth of bonds is a whole lot of money. I wonder if anybody has a description of those bonds — revenue bonds? Rated how? At what rate? Who bought them? Did CALPERS buy a big piece? Have they traded lately? Who believed that the enterprise would ever have paid off its debt? Were they guaranteed by MBIA? Who were the bankers in the deal? Was the deal before or after Harrisburg financed its trash project? Who is holding the bag?
Remember that there are already tracks laid for railroads to transport people, oranges, and lumber all over California. While it is easy to imagine that California could easily spend an extra nine billion, it is really hard to imagine what it would take to cut the travel time between downtown LA and downtown San Fransisco by train. Why not every Californian ten tickets on Southwest every year? (bags fly free)
If every Californian did not need the Southwest tickets, the state could set up a “market” just like its market for carbon credits. You could exchange your tickets (a special transaction fee for rich ticketholders) for college tuition credits, contraceptives, drugs, guns, etc. You could exchange the tickets for carbon credits. This would make high-speed rail market-oriented and win-win.
Totally unrelated to this post,
I have been reading McCloskey I told you before I thought she was great. I now think she is a genius. If you guys got her to be a professor at Rochester I think that would be just a fantastic thing.
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