California’s Electric High Speed Rail: No Power, No Money, No ‘High Speed’

Many wonder if the high-speed trains will be powered by windmills, solar panels, cooking oil and algae

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

“If it is built, California’s High-Speed Rail would be the largest public works project in state history. That fact alone appears be intoxicating to state officials, in a perpetual quest to have California be the first state to do anything,” I reported in 2011. That’s how long California’s High Speed Rail has served only as a jobs program and a really bad joke on California voters and taxpayers.

By 2011, it was apparent that the High Speed Rail Authority was violating important mandates in the 2008 initiative, passed by votersProposition 1A, $9 billion in bonds for high-speed rail, included numerous mandates, none of which can be legally bypassed on the way to building the massive train system.

Top on the list is that the rail system must be high-speed. “Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour,” the law states. However, much of the first segment between Fresno and Bakersfield is not high-speed; nor will high-speed be attainable in dense cities.

“Despite the warnings of a nearly $100 billion ballooning price tag, no track laid, no trains running, decreasing legislative support and even opposition from diehard rail advocates, the High-Speed Rail Authority is steaming ahead full throttle with plans to build the most expensive high-speed rail system in history.” That is also from 2011 – 11 years ago. And nothing has changed except more spending on the train to nowhere.

A 2011 Field poll found that two thirds of Californians want a new referendum on the project. And by a two-to-one margin, they say they’d vote to derail it, only three years after passing Prop. 1A.

California Senate Republicans just issued a “Myths vs. Facts” report on California’s High Speed Rail debacle. They reported, “14 years later, this ‘efficient’ bullet train was supposed to be completed in the early 2020s, but it is nowhere near completion, while the cost has ballooned to $105 billion from $33 billion. In the 2022-2023 state budget, Legislative Democrats earmarked another $4.2 billion for the first phase of the project, which would run from Bakersfield to Merced.”

“Adding insult to California voters, the California High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) has published a website peddling myths about the bullet train,” Senate Republicans said. “While they suggest they are trying to ‘dispel myths’ and separate ‘fact from fiction,’ their own website is rampant with more opinions than facts.”

Even in 2011, California’s High Speed Rail pushers were agitating for the $3.5 billion in matching federal funding for the rail plan. However, that federal money came with a requirement of use exclusively in the economically depressed Central Valley.

A 2011 report by the Legislative Analyst found that future High-Speed Rail funding sources were “highly speculative,” and the economic impact analysis included in the rail authority’s plan “may be incomplete and imbalanced, and therefore portrays the project more favorably than may be warranted.”

Ya think? It’s 2022 and High Speed Rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles is still just a pipe dream – especially the “high speed” part.

In February 2019, President Trump called for California to return all federal rail funding, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state of the state address where the Governor vowed to kill High Speed Rail saying, “there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA.”  However, Newsom flipped on his promise within the week, announcing he was allowing one odd segment of the rail project to be built in the Central Valley, nicknamed “the conjugal express,” going from prison to prison, Madera to Bakersfield.  The goal for the strange and unnecessary rail line was so California would not have to return $3.5 billion to the federal government.

California Senate Republicans take a deeper dive and break down the real myths vs facts:

Myth: High-Speed Rail will “establish a clean, efficient 220 MPH transportation system.”

Fact: “There has been nothing efficient about high-speed rail in California. The original cost of the project was projected to be $33 billion and is now expected to be at least $105 billion before it is completed. What is worse, the plan no longer even includes purchasing trains. So, the state doesn’t have a way to test if the system works, or if the trains can even go the promised 220mph.”

reported in 2011, “Complicating matters, the first segment of the rail system won’t even run high-speed trains until the entire system is built. The initiative required the train to be only high-speed.”

Myth: High-Speed Rail will allow travel “from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 2 ½ hours for about $50 a person.”

Fact: “Way back in 2015 the Los Angeles Times conducted a study and determined the cost to ride high-speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco under the best of circumstances would be between $83 and $105. With the cost rising from $33 billion to at least $105 billon and inflation at a 40-year high, the likely cost will be considerably more, if, (or when) the system is ever completed.”

Myth: High-Speed Rail will be completed as early as 2020.

Fact: That date has come and gone. The first leg of high-speed rail, from Merced to Bakersfield, now has an estimated completion of 2029.

Remember, the initiative was passed by voters in 2008.

According to to Proposition 1A, The California High-Speed Rail Authority must have all of the the funding ahead of time, before any construction starts on a new segment.

Pacific Gas &Electric and Southern California Edison will be providing the electricity for high-speed rail, with estimates of additional demands for electricity already coming in at 1 percent to 5 percent of the state’s total energy usage. “Even Cal ISO doesn’t have any estimates for the cost,” a Capitol staffer told me in 2012. “High-speed rail has got to consume a great deal of power. Where will the power come from?”

That question was never answered. And with California’s deficient electricity grid, electric car owners are told not to charge their cars on hot summer afternoons. It’s clear the state can’t handle the energy requirement for the high speed train, or electric cars. they are trying to convince everyone to purchase.

Here’s what lawmakers and the High Speed Rail Authority knew in 2011:

According to a July 2011 energy usage analysis prepared for the California High-Speed Rail Program Management Team, total electricity usage for the proposed rail system would be “8.32 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day,” and more than 3 billion kWh per year.

The average three-person household in California is about 6,000 kWh per year, or a little more than 2,000 KWh per person.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe


  1. MARK ROSS says

    Future tour bus operators will bring their passengers to the Bakersfield-Merced structure…as part of a tour of abandoned utopian communities from the 19th century. They’ll call it “Stonehenge West”. BTW, a few years ago the Legislature empaneled some “experts” to perform a financial analysis of the project. They found that the in-house cost of high-speed railing a passenger from LA to SF was greater than the retail price of a plane ticket for the same trip. That was before the cost overruns started piling up.

  2. donald J says

    Well gee whizz. Just turn off the A/c, TV, Lights, electric heat, microwave and electric oven and stoves and everything will work out. One thing you can always count on with the liberals programs is that the end result has always been proven to be a disaster for the constituents.

    • john proper says

      Sorry I can’t help. I heat with wood, cook and heat water with propane, but use electricity for lighting so I will light a candle.

  3. Democrats only fix problems they cause with MORE problems………and they like throwing enormous amounts of money we don’t have, at problems that don’t exist, for solutions that don’t work!!!

  4. The project was started without the technology to get through the mountains and without purchasing all the right of way through the farmlands. Still true.
    We all know there have been many millionaires created by this world class boondoggle. Unfortunately our democrat omnipotent ruling class will never allow us to “follow the money”.
    Even if HSR had been constructed, be aware that nationally, AMTRAC the largest American rail system, averages 75% on time operations. Private sector gave away rail systems to the public sector for a reason, without subsidies they make no economical sense. This glaring travesty will break all records in both up front and ongoing operating costs. What politicians have supported this mess?
    Remember this at the polls. This is why our beautiful single party state is Argentina in the making.
    Incumbent is a dirty word.

  5. Bogiewheel says

    Welcome back, “Toonerville Trolly”………For those of a certain age.

  6. Where has the money gone thus far? Has there been an audit and, have the results been made public?

  7. Really??? says

    There still has not been a reliable report showing the Environmental Impacts of boring through mountains. e.g. Los Angeles Metro bored through the mountains between the San Fernando Valley and the coast to get their (not high speed) rail system to the coast. The impacts on underground water was so bad that there are creeks and wells that no longer produce viable water. Yet the rail system has to handle the water within their tubes.

    The amount of electricity demand the supposed environmentally correct all electric cars will soak up all the available electricity for recharging your daily driver. Where will the electricity come from to run the “not so high speed rail”????? I know it will be from the blow-hard wind of the Radicalized Democrat Party led by idiots like Newsom. 1% to 5% of the states electricity?

    You have been had. The only way out is to vote out of power the really stupid Democrat Party.

    But no,,, the welfare system keeping in place politicians and buying votes seems to make you the voter dumber than a nail head.

    Still voting Democrat? Why?

  8. Bogiewheel says

    Wait until Lake Mead no longer produces electric power and we return to manual one-arm-bandits in Las Vegas casinos

Speak Your Mind