Billion Dollar High Speed Train to Where? Merced to Bakersfield, CA

AKA-Keep Democratic Congressmen EmployeedI was wondering how Democrats Jim Costa of Fresno and Dennis Cardoza would keep their seats in Congress after their disastrous voting records regarding the San Joaquin Valley issues and the economy in general.  Well, here it is: a high-speed train from Merced, CA, to Bakersfield, CA.  Or more appropriately, A High Speed Billion Dollars to Stimulate Two Failing Congressmen’s Bid for Re-Election.  If you really wanted to know what Obama needed the Stimulus Money for and why he has only spent a little over half of it, here it is:  to buy off voters in districts where Democrats are in trouble.

The SJ Valley could certainly use jobs and income but the vast majority of this money will go to the Operating Engineers #3 (another favorite union of Obama) and whoever the supplier is for the trains.  Those on the unemployment rolls in the valley are primarily non-union people and many have been involved in agriculture their entire career.  When this folly is finished, I guess the unemployed can go back and forth from Merced to Bakersfield really fast… 

The other key question is how are you going to support this folly from a day-to-day operations point of view?  No rail system in the US is self-sufficient and this one will follow suit.  There are simply not enough people who drive up and down highway 99 to come close to justifying this debacle.  Once again, the taxpayers will have to cough up cash every year to subsidize the operation of this trolley folly.

If Obama, Costa, and Cardoza really wanted to help the valley, how about turning the water back on for agriculture, guarantee availability of that water year in and year out, and slash the bureaucracy and regulations that are choking California agribusiness?  Maybe set up development grants for food processing centers along the 99 and I-5 corridors that can help to develop long-term viable agribusinesses.  The SJ and Sacramento valleys are the most productive farm lands in the world and they are literally going to waste.  Between Federal and State agencies and the environmental wacko friendly courts, California is set to lose its dominance in agriculture worldwide but by golly we will be able to get from Merced to Bakersfield really fast!

Beam me up Scotty.  (So far there is no vertical rail system!)  Maybe we should have a naming contest.  My vote is forFresno Area Rapid Transit”  The acronym is perfect for this project!

RD Pierini


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