the ability to steal billions from taxpayers? Your state is literally falling apart and has been for decades and your NUMBER ONE priority is a high speed rail line from no where to no where, WHY? How can ANY project be 50% over budget and 7 years behind schedule if not intentionally set up as a means of money laundering and outright theft of the public’s money? I can’t even imagine how many 100’s of millions cannot be accounted for but that is really nothing compared to what really galls – NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE. Oh, some pundits right about it, some people may complain but, at the end of the day, the money is appropriated and the theft continues while the people below the Oroville Dam are literally left to drown. Why? Why are the people of California so uncaring about their tax dollars and, more importantly, their neighbors?
California Governor Prioritized High-Speed Pipe Dream Over Oroville Dam
On February 7, a giant hole opened up in the main spillway of Northern Calfornia’s Oroville Dam, leading to a possible chain of events that could burst the dam’s reservoir with billions of gallons of floodwater crashing into the towns below. The next day, the office of California’s Democratic governor Jerry Brown released its “wish list,” in hopes of snagging $100 billion in federal infrastructure funding out of the $1 trillion that President Trump has pledged.
Guess which infrastructure project wasn’t on Brown’s list of 51 items, even though the list had been prepared in December 2016, when heavy rains began pelting California for days on end and raising threats of serious floods?
Repairing the Oroville Dam. This despite the fact that environmental groups had warned as early as 2005 that the dam, completed in 1967, didn’t meet modern safety standards for heavy flooding and had urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require concrete fortifications on an auxiliary spillway that is essentially just a (now badly-eroding) dirt hillside topped by a 30-foot wall as a condition for relicensing the dam’s hydroelectric plant.
But guess which infrastructure project did make Brown’s federal-swag wish list?
That’s right, Brown’s long-running pet project, the California bullet train.
The officially estimated $64 billion high-speed rail system that’s supposed to whisk passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours is currently running 50 percent over budget and seven years behind schedule just to build a 130-mile segment connecting two rural towns in Central California far away from either city and expected to be used by few riders. Furthermore, the deficit-plagued state of California has on hand or expects to raise under best-case scenarios only about $4 billion of the $10 billion it’s now expected that the initial segment of the train will cost, and no one knows where the rest of the money will come from.
The train-happy Brown added several other rail projects to his wish list, including a streetcar system for Sacramento, the state capital.
In all fairness, Brown did include some flood-control projects in his list, a letter to the National Governors Association, including levees in the general area of the Oroville Dam and some shoring up of the Folsom Dam in the Sacramento region. But the reigning theory—until the current flooding crisis—was that California’s droughts would be a semi-permanent condition thanks to global warming, and that there was no need to bother thinking about what could happen if the trillion-gallon reservoir in the 700-hundred-foot Oroville Dam (the nation’s tallest) overflowed.
Authorities had evacuated some 188,000 people living in the Oroville area while engineers scrambled to lower the water level in the reservoir before more heavy rains expected to begin on Thursday, and it now appears to be safe enough for the residents to return.
As might be expected, the Oroville crisis—and the fact that Brown left the aging dam out of his infrastructure wish list—has provided a ripe opportunity for widespread jeering by the few Republican legislators in overwhelmingly Democratic California, who pointed to Brown’s seemingly myopic focus on building his bullet train and protecting illegal immigrants from deportation by the Trump administration. That administration has, however promised federal emergency aid to support repairs to damaged portions of the dam