Joe Biden has earned a lot of derisive laughs for saying that the United States will build a high-speed rail train across the Pacific Ocean. That is a joke – although you can never tell these days when old Joe is just having a senior moment.
What makes this “Ninth Wonder of the World” project so delusional is that high-speed rail doesn’t work ANYWHERE in the U.S. and the grandest failure of all is the bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles which started receiving billions of dollars back in the Obama years. Kerry Jackson of the Pacific Research Institute provides the latest summary of one of the most expensive progressive infrastructure flops in American history:
- California’s high-speed rail, which so far is more blank than bullet, neatly fits the description – almost as if it were the primary target. It is $95 billion over budget, having been approved in 2008 at a cost of $33 billion by voters and now projected to cost $127.9 billion based on the latest estimates.
- Our CTUP transportation expert Wendell Cox warned a decade ago that ridership estimates were grossly inflated. While the California High-Speed Rail Authority assumed the train would serve 21.1 million riders a year by 2035, now it is estimated to carry 5 to 7 million, which means it will require annual operating subsidies.
- The current cost of the choo-choo is $5.15 billion PER MILE, making this the costliest rail project in world history. The costs are only escalating.
We wish to applaud Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst for sponsoring the Put the Brakes on Boondoggles Act, which would cancel transit or rail lines if “the overall cost projection to complete the project exceeds the original cost projection by at least $1 billion.”
Ernst says: “The projects are sold to the public with the promise of ‘free’ federal money, but once ground is broken, the costs magically multiply,” she said. “Going a billion dollars over budget is not a rounding error, after all, and being off by $100 billion is a train wreck.”