California High-Speed Rail All Strung Out on Stimulus on the Outskirts of Town

Emily Washington of Market Urbanism highlights this Los Angeles Times article on the latest — depending on your outlook: hilarious or pathetic — development in California’s high-speed rail saga: Ray LaHood’s Department of Transportation won’t even let them attempt to slightly improve on economic/success grounds the proposed line, which is quite literally a rail corridor segment to and from nowhere. Here’s a nice quote:

Rail officials plan to build the first section of the 500-mile system between Bakersfield and the tiny town of Borden in Madera County. The initial leg, which would pass through Fresno and Corcoran, has been criticized as a “train to nowhere” because high-speed trains would not operate on it until the route could be extended to major population centers.

In a letter to the rail authority, the Transportation Department stated that general appropriations law and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act require that construction begin in 2012, the last year the funds would be available.

The Transportation Department “has no administrative authority to change this deadline and does not believe it is prudent to assume Congress will change it,” wrote Roy Kienitz, a department undersecretary. “We recommend that policy makers in California proceed on the basis that this deadline will remain fixed.”

Kienitz said the federal government views the Central Valley as a logical place to begin construction of a core line that can be completed quickly and later extended to San Francisco and the Los Angeles Basin. He described the location as a “wise choice” that was made after careful consideration.

Of course DOT believes the segment-to-nowhere is a good place to start. Its head, delusional former Big Porker Congressman Ray LaHood, has made no secret his unwillingness to accept reality. Forcing California to use stimulus money to build a nonsensical, scaled-up toy train set in the rural Central Valley is straight from LaHood’s play book (this latest development is not at all shocking). This administration, thanks to ridiculous appointees such as LaHood, has shown that it is not serious about addressing real transportation problems: rather, they’re obsessed with “livability” pipe-dreams and spending money like junkies during The End of Days.

It won’t happen, but it is really time for President Obama, LaHood, California, et al. to call out for their Carmelitas and start coming down from the stimulus high. Zevon got it. GG Allin maybe got it: