KCBS Reporter Dave Lopez to Gov. Jerry Brown on California High-Speed Rail: Hold The Phone!

Dave Lopez KCBS .jpg
Dave Lopez to Guv: Come on, man!
You know professional politicians are in big trouble when mainstream daily journalists openly mock them.

Take the case of veteran KCBS/KCAL television reporter Dave Lopez, who late last week reported Gov. Jerry Brown's press conference to celebrate California's new costly, controversial high-speed rail project.

"We need trains just like Europe, just like China, just like Japan," Brown told Lopez. "This is the future. Fearful men stand aside! We're going forward."

So far, so good for the state's top political bigwig after expertly delivering the Nicholas Pileggi-style line.

But Lopez then weighed in with an observation: The governor "brushed off concerns about massive cost overruns already for this project."

The next shot in the story showed Brown saying the project will cost $10 billion.

"That's not a problem," the governor said, apparently ignorant that the razor-like Lopez guillotine was about to fall on his neck. "Believe me. We got it."

California High Speed Rail Jerry Brown.jpg
A solemn Lopez then stated, "But hold the phone for just a moment if you will. With the governor asking for a tax increase in November and saying that without it the school systems throughout the state will have dramatic cuts, why would you want to spend an initial $5 billion and then an additional $9 billion from the federal government on a high-speed rail system? Why not take that money and use it for education?"

California Gov high speed rail.jpg
For an answer to his question, Lopez turned to state Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, a Democrat who said it would be illegal to transfer the transportation funds to education.

"We would do it in a heartbeat but the reality is we can't," explained de Leon.

A shoulder-shrugging Lopez, who is now based in LA but spent decades breaking stories in Orange County, wrapped up the report by repeating Brown's supercilious boast that money is no problem when it comes to the government's high-speed rail hopes.

California has an ugly history on transportation spending predictions. For example, officials in both major political parties and so-called business experts claimed that OC's San Joaquin Hills Toll Road would cost $900 million, reduce traffic and generate huge profits for Wall Street. Sixteen years later, the publicly-subsidized, semi-private road increased traffic congestion by spurring new residential housing developments and is constantly on the verge of taxpayer-responsible bankruptcy. Current cost of the road? More than $15 billion (and climbing each day).

You can watch the KCBS report HERE.

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11 comments
GabrielSanRoman
GabrielSanRoman

Dave Lopez is good peoples. This is just more evidence of that.

sandy
sandy

It is not just the growing size of government that concerns many but the growing cost.  Jerry has failed us on both counts.  Rather than show fiscal responsibility we get more spending.   This is hardly a way to win support for new taxes.  

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

" Sixteen years later, the publicly-subsidized, semi-private road increased traffic congestion by spurring new residential housing developments and is constantly on the verge of taxpayer-responsible bankruptcy. "

 

Uh, where do you 'progressives' want all the millions of Mexicans, Chinese, Arabs, etc pouring into the country to live? Immigration=population explosion=more housing and roads needed

loomismaui
loomismaui

Here's the thing: Governor Brown is right ... and all the snide snickerings and mindless bombast will not change that. A great deal of that bombast has been generated by a massive misinformation campaign supported by the Reason Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and other so-called “think tanks”, all of which advocate an ultra-conservative and/or Libertarian political philosophy as opposed to a transportation policy.

 

 Californians should be aware that much of the funding for these “foundations” comes from oil companies, several of the major airlines, the highway lobby and, in particular, from the multi-billion dollar foundation run by the infamous Koch brothers.

 

Furthermore, much of this anti-rail rhetoric, which is shot through with half-truths and outright fabrications, has been picked up with no vetting by the so-called mainstream media to their everlasting shame.

 

Here's what these self-proclaimed experts do not tell you: Their alternative transportation "solution" is, by default, to build more and more and more highways, the cost of which will far exceed the one-time cost of building high-speed rail.

 

The truth is, high-speed rail has been proven to be fast, efficient, cost effective and -- most important -- the preferred mode of transportation everywhere else in the world. What a pity that high-speed rail has had to fight an expensive and time-wasting uphill battle here in the United States as the result of a misbegotten campaign based on an inflexible anti-government-no-matter-what political ideology. 

SamMitchell
SamMitchell

 @sandy  The costs were approved democratically by state voters in 2008. Then the feds pitched in so that bulk of the phase approved thus far will also be paid for by the feds.  So please explain how Jerry failed on that count?

 

As to increasing the govt. size, you do realize that this will be done by private contractors not public employees, right?

 

Also that it means more jobs for the ailing economy, right?

 

"This is hardly a way to win support for new taxes.  "

 

Yes, it is also a poor way to harpoon whales, but since it is neither, let's not worry too much about that.

sandy
sandy

 @loomismaui I am afraid you have your facts wrong.  High speed rail, no matter where it is, requires government subsidies.  It is true of France, Japan, Spain, China you name it.  The present plans are way over initial projections. 

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

 @loomismaui I'm sorry, there are more things to spend money on than a train from one dusty San Joaquin Valley city to another. Oh, yes, sure, it'll make it to San Francisco and Los Angeles and Anaheim... eventually, after decades more of fights.

 

We don't need it. We have a perfectly good short-haul airline system. (And before anyone goes off about how annoying it is to fly, how long after construction is complete before the TSA goons make you do the same for a bullet train?)

 

There is no high-speed rail in countries with spread-out geographies like the US. There's no high-speed rail in Australia, none in South Africa, none in Russia, very little in China. It makes sense in built-up places, not the bloody Central Valley.

Nachosaintcheap
Nachosaintcheap

@loomismaui socialism works in other countries too. Oh, wait, this just it, we have that already. what a boondoggle. This will be the straw that breaks the proverbial back of CA.

-paulc-
-paulc-

 @loomismaui disagree...its a bridge to nowhere.  Waiting for the first lawsuit to be filed in SF, blocking this from happening.  Aside from high speed rail federal money, the rest can used to fix the aging infrastructure.  yeah, roads are not the answer, but this turd isnt either.

loomismaui
loomismaui

Of course high spoeed rail requires subsidy! ALL public transportaion is subsidized! The airlines are subsidized when  the federal government provides the air traffic control system and cities and states build and maintain airports.  Gasoline taxes only cover half the cost of highway construction, the rest is paid for from general tax revenue ... and that is a subsidy. Urban transit systems are subsidized. Government builds and maintains bike lanes, for heaven's sake. And that's the way it's supposed to work in a modern, civilized society!

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @dasubergeek Even in Western Europe, short haul economy airlines like RyanAir have put a huge dent in intercity rail travel. 

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