Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More insanity from the high speed rail authority

The report on the Grapevine alignment has been released and, unsurprisingly for those with a low degree of trust in the Authority and Parsons Brinkerhoff, it continues to support the Palmdale alignment. How does it do this? By arbitrarily refusing to study the easiest and cheapest Grapevine route on the grounds that it would cause problems for a yet to be built housing project with a maximum value of $500 million dollars. Yes, just like in Millbrae, billions of dollars are being intentionally wasted rather than cooperate with other agencies or simply use their inherent powers of eminent domain. It is especially egregious since, while in Millbrae, there is a half-assed excuse available in the existing BART facilities, the Tejon Ranch Company does not have anything more than an environmental impact report yet. Absurdly, in order to avoid the use of eminent domain and cutting through a nonexistent property, it cuts through an already existing community, that of Lebec.

Additional lengths and costs have incurred to the I-5 routing thanks to diverting to the east of Bakersfield rather than the more appropriate west, for this we have the increasingly obviously flawed "Central Valley first" approach pushed by the Obama administration to thank. However, given what looks strongly like corruption on the part of the Authority's board, one wonders if the Federal requirement to start in the Central Valley was actually requested by the Authority in order to give it political cover.

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