Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jerry Brown Rejects $100 Billion Cost Estimate, Says Cap-and-trade Fees Will Fund High-speed Rail

Relying on estimated revenues from a program that is not even in operation to fund a project whose costs are surely going to rise sounds so Wall Street that I'm tempted to offer the Governor a job.
"Ya see boss we borrow short and buy long with 90 to 1 leverage, goosing the management fee..."
Based on the estimates I've seen, Gingrich's moon colony would be cheaper.
I'm serious.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview airing in Los Angeles today that California's high-speed rail project will cost far less than the state's current estimate of nearly $100 billion and that environmental fees paid by carbon producers will be a source of funding.

"It's not going to be $100 billion," the Democratic governor said on ABC 7's Eyewitness Newsmakers program. "That's way off."

Brown's remarks come as his administration prepares revisions to the California High-Speed Rail Authority's latest business plan. Brown is trying to push the project through an increasingly skeptical Legislature following a series of critical reports.

"Phase 1, I'm trying to redesign it in a way that in and of itself will be justified by the state investment," Brown said. "We do have other sources of money: For example, cap-and-trade, which is this measure where you make people who produce greenhouse gasses pay certain fees - that will be a source of funding going forward for the high speed rail."...MORE including video 
From the California State Auditor's High-speed rail Authority January 2012 Follow-up report:
...Further, the Authority's 2012 draft business plan still lacks some key details about the program's costs and revenues. In particular, only within the business plan's chapter about funding—more than 100 pages into the plan—does the Authority mention that phase one could cost as much as $117.6 billion, whereas it uses one of its lower cost estimates of $98.5 billion throughout the plan. Moreover, neither of these cost estimates includes phase one's operating and maintenance costs, yet based on data included in the 2012 draft business plan, we estimate that these costs could total approximately $96.9 billion from 2025 through 2060.

The Authority projects that the program's revenues will cover these costs but it does not include any alternatives if the program does not generate significant profits beginning in its first year of operation. Further, the plan assumes, but does not explicitly articulate, that the State will not receive any profits between 2024 and 2060, because private sector investors will receive all of the program's net operating profits during these years in return for their investment....
Let's see, $96.9 Billion operating plus $117.6 upper-end, carry the 5...