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California’s high-speed rail wasn’t ‘captured’ by contractors — it was created by them




California’s high-speed rail was a success. Sure, its cost was more than double the original estimate and it was 13 years behind schedule when it was canceled, but, writes Tim Carney, “it has already fulfilled its real purpose: enriching the unions and companies whose idea it was.”

The campaign supporting the 2008 initiative was run by a group called “Californians for High-Speed Rail: A Coalition of Taxpayer, Business, Environmental and Labor Groups and People from Across California Tired of Being Stuck In Traffic.” Californians for High-Speed Rail was mostly funded by a handful of labor unions and a handful of developers.

The committee’s donors in 2008 were the very contractors whom the L.A. Times absurdly accuses of “capturing” their own project later. Parsons Brinckerhoff gave more than $100,000 to “Californians for High-Speed Rail” and then landed a $700 million contract to build the rail. Contractor STV contributed $45,000, HNTB gave $63,000, Arup was good for $40,000. The California American Council of Engineering Companies also contributed.

These companies got their contracts and got paid, by taxpayers in California and nationwide. Californians aren’t getting their trains, though.

[Timothy P. Carney, “California’s High-Speed Rail Wasn’t ‘Captured’ by Contractors—It Was Created by Them,” American Enterprise Institute, May 23]


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