REBOUND EFFECT: Rube Goldberg Legal System Derails CA Bullet Train.
California’s bullet train boondoggle was sucker punched yesterday, as a Sacramento Superior Court judge blocked $68 billion in bond funding. The same case saw a separate ruling allowing the state to spend $3.4 billion in federal cash for the project, while a second case (same judge) rejected the rail authority’s request to issue $8 billion in bonds that voters approved in 2008. The judge ruled the project would need to meet various mandates, compliances and environmental clearances before the funding stream can be allowed to flow.
The convoluted rulings are yet another sign that California’s toxic regulatory and legal environment makes any public works project slow, expensive and Pyrrhic. . . .
We’ve long argued that the train is an awful idea, but it looks like it’s starting to fail for all the wrong reasons. It would be good to see some common sense shape a consensus that the project’s exorbitant costs and marginal utility make it not worth the while. But no, the train is being derailed by red tape.
Big government self-derails. Opponents of big government should take a cue from environmentalists, and seize every available opportunity — and there will be many — for legal monkey-wrenching.