California Bullet Train Will Require Subsidies

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Even I’m a little tired of my obsession with the California bullet train, but here’s the latest anyway:

The state rail authority is moving ahead with a plan to issue a massive contract for tracks and an electrical system that would enable bullet train service in the Central Valley. But when the service starts in 2028, it would lose money that the state would absorb, according to consultants for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

In other words, it would require subsidies, despite clear language in the original bond measure that no subsidies would be allowed.

So the bullet train will cost far more than originally planned; have lower ridership than promised; extend only from Bakersfield to Merced (a “starter system”); require subsidies; and barely go fast enough to deserve the name “bullet” in the first place. Other than that, though, everything is great.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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