Bullet Train will push state further into Soviet-style transport

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What if we lived in a country with mad government disease;
berserk, irrational government.
Well, we already do. The state government says $100 billion is
not enough from taxpayers to run California. They want to amend the
State Constitution, enact Prop. 56, repeal Prop. 13, so it is
easier to impose higher taxes. Wait until Baby Boomers retire with
no Prop. 13 protections, reaping what the radical socialists sow
for us.
What if we lived in a country with mad government disease; berserk, irrational government.

Well, we already do. The state government says $100 billion is not enough from taxpayers to run California. They want to amend the State Constitution, enact Prop. 56, repeal Prop. 13, so it is easier to impose higher taxes. Wait until Baby Boomers retire with no Prop. 13 protections, reaping what the radical socialists sow for us.

And if Rod Diridon gets his way, Gilroy will have more than his train museum downtown feasting off taxpayers. SB 1961, now pending in Congress, would fund construction of California’s Bullet Train through towns like Gilroy. The Big Lie on the November ballot, proposed by the berserk spenders in the Politico Transit Alliance, “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act of the 21st Century,” will, if enacted, extract the state’s funds for construction, and plunge California further into Soviet-style transportation.

Federal preemption and HSRA’s agency’s eminent domain power will impose the loco federali’s socialist transit solutions, but will require small business owners and homeowners to pick-up the Bullet Train’s $900 million annual operating losses (truth probably doubles their estimate).

Raising the operating funds from taxpayers will destroy all small businesses with higher tax burdens. Rural counties will be especially devastated. For example, for SBC to raise $900 million annually, it would take $8,010,101,010.00 annually in tax collections, or about three times the assessed valuation of all property, real and personal, in SBC.

Hell, VTA’s losses with Lite Rail (HEAVY SOCIALISM), COG’s losses with County Transit (LOCAL SOCIALISM), Caltrain’s and Amtrak’s losses, etc. will be small in comparison to the money sucked-up by HSRA’s Super-Massive Black Hole. If HSRA gets its way with their Big Lie, and Congress stabs future generations with more debt on top of the $6.9 trillion federal debt, then California ought to seek relief under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code, and break as many burdensome public-sector union contracts as we have on our necks. It’s the only way we’ll have any small businesses left in California.

But it does not have to happen. Voters can say “NO” to berserk, irrational government. I appeared before the high speed rail commission (before it became an “authority”) five times (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno and Bakersfield) and told the commissioners that if they put enough UPS, FedEx, and Postal Service tonnage on their train then they would not need to ask the taxpayers for a dime. If they were the board of directors of a private-sector company, then they would have been terminated for incompetence. Later, Rod Diridon was appointed to HSRA, and magically, its $900 million annual operating loss suddenly disappeared, and HSRA became profitable in their projections. Yeah, like County Transit is “profitable.”

Bechtel Corporation, the builder, and the public-sector union members who operate it will make a profit off Bullet Train, but for taxpayers it will only worsen the small business failure and bankruptcy rate as California’s largest public works project adds to the state and local government deficits, and the bond debt encumbers future generations.

Whether it is routed over Panoche Pass through SBC as originally planned, or Pacheco Pass as presently planned, HSRA will collide with UP at Gilroy. Mr. Diridon’s plans to “run on UP’s tracks” to the Bay Area won’t work because (1) the two systems are incompatible, i.e., 70 mph freight trains and 220 mph Bullet Train, and (2) UP’s eminent domain trumps HSRA’s eminent domain, according to UP’s West Coast General Commerce Counsel, with whom I spoke at UP’s Economic Development Forum in Pleasanton in Oct. 2002.

Remember the Supreme Court’s decision in the coal slurry pipeline case? Class Is like UP don’t knuckle-under the way local politicians do to special interests like public-sector unions.

If voters are foolish enough to accept HSRA’s B.S., then they deserve to wear this albatross around their necks, but what about our children and grandchildren. Should they be responsible for our generation’s compulsive spending disorder? I say once again, it is time to tear down the Iron Curtain in American transport policy, and join the world-wide “privatization revolution.”

Caveat Viator!

Joe Thompson is a graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, all U.S. District Courts in California and before the California Supreme Court. He is past-president of the Morgan Hill-Gilroy Bar Association.

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