Saturday, January 07, 2012

Anything goes?

Just last week, the LA Times reported this
Review urges delay in borrowing billions for bullet train ... State-mandated panel concludes that the high-speed rail program 'is not financially feasible.' ... Gov. Jerry Brown's office signals that he isn't likely to be swayed by the findings.  ... In a scathing critique that could further jeopardize political support for California's proposed $98.5-billion bullet train, a key independent review panel is recommending that state officials postpone borrowing billions of dollars to start building the first section of track this year.
Today, in their standard fashion, they editorialized this way:
Keep California's bullet train on track ... Despite recent negative reviews by experts, in the long term the rail project still makes sense. ... California's proposed bullet train took another shot this week when an independent review panel issued a report concluding that the project wasn't financially viable. This followed negative reviews from the state auditor, the inspector general, the legislative analyst and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies.
It's hard to argue with such a distinguished group of experts, whose logic is unassailable. ...
In other words, it is all about the boosters' rail religion.  Blind faith is promoted via an appeal to the "long term."  The editorial even evokes the pyramids of Egypt and their long term viability. 

But slaves were involved.  That should remind the authors that resources are scarce.  Adopt a discount rate of zero and in the long term, any and all projects make sense.  Fill the Gulf of Mexico to grow turnips, etc.  Anything goes?


California HSR situation by Ken Orski.