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The original proponent of high-speed rail in California is now suing to stop the project, saying it’s almost a “crime.”   I’m shocked… Just shocked.

High speed rail projects are the poster children for cronyism and corruption.  The contractors and engineering firms love them.  They lobby for them.  The rest of us just pay, pay, and pay.  Reason has the latest:

California’s high speed rail line was sold to voters on the bold promise that it will someday whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours. Nine years later, the project has turned into such a disaster that its biggest political champion is now suing to stop it.

An icon of California politics known as the “Great Dissenter,” Quentin L. Kopp introduced the legislation that established the rail line, and became chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority. He helped convince voters in 2008 to hand over $9 billion in bonds to the Rail Authority to get the project going. Since he left, Kopp says the agency mangled his plans.

“It is foolish, and it is almost a crime to sell bonds and encumber the taxpayers of California at a time when this is no longer high-speed rail,” says Kopp. “And the litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority’s deceiving plan.”

Voters supported the bond measure to pay for construction on the condition that the train would be self-sustaining. But multiple outside analyses conclude that the Rail Authority will have to massively hike ticket prices or rely on taxpayer largess. According to one recent estimate, the project’s latest iteration would suck up at least $100 million in annual subsidies.

Since 2008, lawsuits have multiplied, private investors have fled, and even the official price tag has nearly doubled, from $33 billion to $64 billion. When the legislature cleared the way for the Rail Authority to begin selling the voter-approved bonds in early 2017 to fund construction, the agency declared it a “milestone.”

Kopp, however, didn’t see it exactly as a milestone. “It’s deceit. That’s not a milestone, it’s desperation,” he said, “because High-Speed Rail Authority is out of money.”

Someone should go to jail in California over this.  $9B in bonds sold… for nothing.  But here’s the reality… no one will be punished, and the best we can hope for is to stop this thing before anything actually gets built.  It’s times like this that I think perhaps we need to bring back the idea of bringing back the pillory in the town square.  Public humiliation might be the necessary punishment.

Watch a video on this below:

Hat Tip: Reason

Image Credit: Screen Cap

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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