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Jerry Brown: C’mon, California’s High Speed Rail Will Be Way Cheaper Than $100 Billion

By Doug Powers  •  January 30, 2012 10:35 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Late last year it was reported that California’s high speed rail project wouldn’t be completed for 22 years and would end up costing about $100 billion, which is three times the initial estimate. The project received over $2 billion from the stimulus.

Gov. Jerry Brown now says the cost won’t be nearly that much, because somehow carbon fees levied on businesses (some of which would no doubt flee the state) will fund a good portion of the construction:

“It’s not going to be $100 billion,” the Democratic governor said on ABC 7’s Eyewitness Newsmakers program. “That’s way off.”

Brown’s remarks come as his administration prepares revisions to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s latest business plan. Brown is trying to push the project through an increasingly skeptical Legislature following a series of critical reports.

“Phase 1, I’m trying to redesign it in a way that in and of itself will be justified by the state investment,” Brown said. “We do have other sources of money: For example, cap-and-trade, which is this measure where you make people who produce greenhouse gasses pay certain fees – that will be a source of funding going forward for the high speed rail.”

Brown said, “It’s going to be a lot cheaper than people are saying.”

Wait a minute. So if industry stops spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere right now (thereby of course saving the planet from global warming) there won’t be enough cap/trade money for the government to build the latest bankruptcy-inducing glimmer in Joe Biden’s eye? I’ve yet to hear a more convincing argument for going green.

Not unlike the government taxing tobacco and using some of the money to pay for SCHIP, the “green” movement has developed a Catch-22 dependence the very things they seek to eliminate. So keep those smokestacks spewing filth and pay those carbon fees, California industry, because Moonbeam has a “green” rail system to pay for so the planet can be saved from global warming!

At least it helps explain recent decisions like this.

I’m amazed by a bureaucratic mindset that believes forcing a portion of the price tag of a bloated project onto select areas of the private sector will lower the cost to the government, and therefore the taxpayers.

Take it away, Governor:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe