California Bullet Train Will Require Subsidies

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Even I’m a little tired of my obsession with the California bullet train, but here’s the latest anyway:

The state rail authority is moving ahead with a plan to issue a massive contract for tracks and an electrical system that would enable bullet train service in the Central Valley. But when the service starts in 2028, it would lose money that the state would absorb, according to consultants for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

In other words, it would require subsidies, despite clear language in the original bond measure that no subsidies would be allowed.

So the bullet train will cost far more than originally planned; have lower ridership than promised; extend only from Bakersfield to Merced (a “starter system”); require subsidies; and barely go fast enough to deserve the name “bullet” in the first place. Other than that, though, everything is great.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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