I attended a convention of the California Newspaper Publishers Association on Friday in San Jose, at which several newspaper owners from around the state commented to me about the insanity of the high-speed rail project. It seems that no matter how strongly the public has turned against this boondoggle, the High-Speed Rail Authority continues down this golden track toward fiscal suicide.
When I returned home that night, I picked up The Californian to find a story from The Fresno Bee touting HSR's newest proponent: a Madera real estate opportunist, Ed McIntyre, who says he will spring for $1 billion in improvements to land he owns if the authority will locate a maintenance yard on the land ("Rail board sets valley route -- and gets an unexpected boost," May 4). The story reports that McIntyre said, in his group's case, "they're certain they can secure financing and recoup their investment through a lease-buy deal with the authority." Ya think?
Let me see if I understand this: McIntyre becomes an overnight supporter of HSR if he can convince the authority to locate a needed part of the HSR infrastructure on his land and sign documents assuring his $1 billion investment will cash flow and repay itself. All underpinned, of course, by state revenue bonds.
With that kind of thinking, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell to the HSR Authority on the same terms. Under those conditions I, too, would become an ecstatic proponent of HSR.
Gregg K. Knowles