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California shows why New York would be crazy to go for high-speed rail

When you hear the words “high-speed rail,” reach for your wallet.

A group of Assembly members this week revived the old dream to bring high-speed rail to New York. The bill would only set up an exploratory commission, but it’s a mistake to take a single step down this road.

Just look at California. A decade after starting to build a high-speed line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the estimated cost to taxpayers has already jumped from an original estimate of $33 billion to $77 billion (and possibly $98 billion), with the finish date pushed back four years (so far) to 2033.

The bill for just the first leg has risen from $6 billion to $10.6 billion — and that line goes from nowhere to nowhere in the state’s Central Valley.

All for a project that has extremely limited consumer demand now, and could be utterly outmoded by technological change, such as the rise of driverless cars.

Back in New York, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), the bill’s chief sponsor, says: “We need to rethink our overall economic development vision for the entire state, and that starts with some version of high-speed rail.”

Nonsense: Goosing New York’s economy starts with lower taxes and reduced regulation to attract job-creators who now look elsewhere. Wasting resources on boondoggles will only drive more business away.

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