Linklist: March 20, 2012

Three on CaHSR:

Drunk Engineer at Systemic FailureHeads I Win, Tails You Lose :

“Incidentally, one major client of Goldman Sachs is the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA). Goldman’s expert advice on structuring Public-Private Partnerships was that private investors receive 100% revenue guarantees — and to wait until the project reaches profitability before privatizing. In other words, taxpayers assume all the risk while Wall Street investors get all the profit. Like the interest-rate swaps, this would be a horrible deal for taxpayers.

Martin Engle sends me to the Washington Free Beacon: Cronyism at Any Speed:

“California’s high-speed rail initiative has its fair share of detractors, but the state’s two largest utility companies—Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) and Southern California Edison—are not among them.
Both companies stand to make millions, if not billions, providing electricity to the new high-speed rail lines if the controversial project is approved.
“Of course they support it,” Kenneth Button, a transportation policy expert at George Mason University, tells the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re going to make a lot of money.””

Lisa Schweitzer: The shifting cost figures on California’s High Speed Rail and what it should teach people about project development :

“Finally, they could shave a lot of money (yes, billions) off that project cost by simply aiming for getting to the SFO Bart station rather than trying to get into downtown San Francisco. People are going to transfer to BART anyway, and it’s a simple BART trip to downtown from SFO. It’s a worthy amendment even if property owners downtown don’t want it.”

[They could save a lot more money by going to San Jose or Livermore and stopping and letting people transfer to BART extensions or Caltrain, we don’t put airports downtown, most people don’t travel to downtown, why should HSR go downtown, to save a few people 1 transfer?]
[[ They could save even more money by not building it. ]]