If you don't count the illegal aliens, California's actually starting to bleed people; searches for homes emanating from Bay area IP addresses are not looking in California - or even in Portland and Seattle, for that matter. Most of the searches center around places like the tech triangle in the Durham, North Carolina area and newer tech hubs cropping up in places like Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. These aren't good signs. Dozens of big businesses are pulling out of the state and moving the national corporate headquarters elsewhere (and taking thousands of jobs with them).
Moreover, the state now has total unfunded liabilities approaching $1 trillion (and growing). Three cities have declared bankruptcy in recent years, and even governor Moonbeam recognizes that infrastructure is crumbling:
In his State of the State address earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to California’s deferred infrastructure maintenance as “staggering” and put the price tag for repairs at $77 billion.
Well, that's what happens when governments pursue pet projects rather than core missions.
But CalTrans has a plan: more bicycle lanes and rail connections. Yes, that's the ticket!
“Responding to the desires of millennials and aging baby boomers alike, we will further invest in complete, safe pedestrian and bicycle networks.”
Because if there's one thing that "aging baby boomers" clamor for, it's "bicycle networks".
A Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee backgrounder from last July noted that “68 percent of California’s roads are in ‘poor’ or ‘mediocre’ condition, putting California behind 43 other states in road condition, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.”
A recent state audit noted that within CalTrans alone, there are 3,500 unnecessary positions (or to put it another way, 3.500 employees being paid astonishingly lucrative compensation packages for doing nothing productive). Interestingly, despite the fact that it imposes one of the highest fuel tax rates in the country, only six other states in the USA have roads and associated infrastructure that are in worse shape than California's. Clearly, there's only one way to get a handle on this problem: more bike paths and a bullet train with an initial liars' budget of $68 billion (and in the case of the latter, a number of outright lies were required on the part of the government to sell the idea; among them, the claim that there would be no operating subsidies required - when in fact their own contractor for the project made it abundantly clear that subsidies would, in fact, be required). A cursory glance at the numbers bears out the contractor's position; there are roughly 50 high-speed rail lines globally at the moment, six of which are not subsidy-dependent. It would be understating the case to suggest that the odds are against the likelihood of California's politicians' ability to keep their promise.
As Bloomberg’s Virginia Postrel explained, it “increasingly looks like an expensive social science experiment to test just how long interest groups can keep money flowing to a doomed endeavor before elected officials finally decide to cancel it.”
A rather succinct summation of the situation indeed. California now ranks 44th in the nation in terms of road infrastructure degradation, and they are rapidly approaching $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities (assuming they haven't already surpassed that mark; those are 2013 numbers), and so quite logically, they decide to invest spend what most certainly will surpass $70 billion on a bullet train which supposedly will whisk passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a mere 150 minutes. Never mind that you can today cover that distance in about half the time by currently available commercial jet flights; trains are just so darn cool!
“Texas spends about one-fourth as much as California per mile of highway, but Texas’ highways are the 11th best in America, while California’s state highways rank 45th,” wrote Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation. “For every mile of highway it has, Texas spends $3,800 on administrative costs. California spends over $47,000 on administrative costs for every mile of highway it has.… Given limited resources, it is vital to steer money to the projects that are the most important and will provide the greatest public benefit. Instead, California just broke ground on a bullet train optimistically estimated to cost $68 billion.”
California: the poster child for misplaced priorities.