Debra J. Saunders

After a rancorous transit strike, Bay Area Rapid Transit management agreed to a contract that rewarded labor leaders for creating a nightmare commute for local workers. BART had contracted to pay its chief negotiator $399,000 -- and still BART lost the negotiations.

And BART could lose the negotiations again. Its bargaining team accidentally signed off on an agreement that "inadvertently" included a paid family medical leave plan expected to cost an unexpected $44 million over four years.

"Mistakes happen in the business world and in life every day," a BART fact sheet noted. And the public pays.

Mistakes do happen. When voters approved the bonds in 2008, the California High-Speed Rail Authority told voters the 800-mile span would cost about $45 billion. In 2011, the authority recalculated -- and the price tag exceeded $100 billion. Now the main line is supposed to cost $68 billion.

After Kenny's ruling, the authority's chairman, Dan Richard, said in a statement, "Like all transformative projects, we understand that there will be many challenges that will be addressed as we go forward in building the nation's first high-speed rail system."

It's ironic. Gov. Brown wants the bullet train to serve as his legacy. Now the same tactics -- challenges -- Brown used to delay construction of the eastern span are being used to jam his legacy. California's can't-do spirit is truly indomitable.

To win support from rail-resisting locals, the high-speed brain trust agreed to a "blended system" that would require the bullet train to share tracks with slower trains. Onetime supporter and former state lawmaker Quentin Kopp now opposes the project because he doesn't see how a track-sharing bullet train could meet its high-speed promise.

If the new line isn't high-speed, people won't buy tickets; just as people won't buy Obamacare policies if they're not really affordable. And then the house of cards crumbles.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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