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Tipsheet

California Willingly Speeding Toward Bankruptcy

Like a frog being slowly boiled in a pot, California just doesn't seem to get it. The state is broke. Governor Jerry Brown is asking for a tax hike to close a $16 billion budget gap and yet, liberal legislators just approved the most expensive project in its history.

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Capping a dramatic showdown over the most expensive project in state history, California legislators Friday gave final approval to high-speed rail, firing the nation's first bullet train toward the future after an impassioned debate over whether the project's price tag was too high in a state whose economy is still hobbling.

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the first $8 billion leg of the $69 billion project -- fittingly, by a single vote. Following the Assembly's approval on Thursday, there is little left to stop the state from breaking ground early next year on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan that voters approved four years ago.

The Los Angeles metro system alone has been a wasteful failure since the beginning and now the state has approved a system that most people won't use at a very expensive cost.

Los Angeles County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is drawing up a new code of conduct for its board members, following repeated scandals over cost overruns, engineering failures, and favoritism in awarding consultant contracts. The code was demanded by U.S. Transportation Secretary Federico Peña as a prerequisite for any additional federal funds for extension of the Red Line subway

According to MTA ethics officer William C. Lowe, who helped draft the code, "It's like sending [MTA Board Members] all back to catechism class. We're saying 'This is wrong and this is right..' It's everything you're supposed to learn in kindergarten but they were absent that day."

MTA rail extension plans were already under siege by critics of repeated obvious flaws in engineering and system design five years ago.

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