Regulatory Commissars

California Doubles Down on Cap-and-Trade

And it's all because leftist lawmakers are most interested in funding pet projects — like bullet trains.

Jordan Candler · Jul. 18, 2017

The Golden State’s legislature voted this week to prolong its onerous cap-and-trade scheme under the guise of curtailing global warming. Even more disturbing was the number of Republicans who joined the alarmist bandwagon. The Los Angeles Times triumphantly reports, “In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

The Times continues, “The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state’s ambitious goal for slashing emissions. Cap and trade also generates important revenue for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, another priority for the governor.” That would be the same bullet train that has turned into a financial debacle yet, for some reason, is considered a California holy grail. The Sacramento Bee dubs it one of the “state projects to offset the effects of climate change.” But it neither offsets climate change nor meets the criteria for frugal taxpayer spending.

In January, another LA Times report stated, “California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by The Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.”

The finishing touches of the Central Valley track might not occur until 2024 — a far cry from the original timeline: this year. This is emblematic of just how wasteful California is when it comes to allocating tax dollars. And it’s being done by lawmakers who have a vested interest that goes well beyond the scope of climate change. They’re most interested in funding pet projects like a leftist-coveted bullet train. That’s a lot of political capital to wager on a project that, so far, has been a complete failure. Other states, particularly Democrat-controlled ones, should take note lest they further aggravate the blue state exodus.

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