Will $23 billion dollar train for the rich include Santa Ana?

I just found out that a bunch of City Councilmen and their wealthy backers are working on a Mag Lev train system called the Orangeline Development Authority. See the picture above for an example of what happens when one of these extreme high speed vehicles has an accident.

Wouldn’t it be cool to travel from Santa Ana to downtown Los Angeles in twenty minutes? But there’s a catch. You would have to pay as much as $40 each way. The project cost comes to some $19 BILLION – and that does not include Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s plan to put it underground in his city.

$13 million has already been spent just thinking about it. This year another $200 million is slated to be spent in Phase 2 of the EIR.

Only $280K is coming from the federal government. Which begs the question – who else is paying for this? Good question. The project will begin with a staggering debt of $23 billion. Construction is supposed to be funded by bonds. But who is going to pay for this? Glad you asked.

Take a look at the graphic below. This is a joint powers authority. The cities who sign up for this boondoggle are going to get stuck paying for it – out of their general funds according to a pajarito.

And now Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido wants in. On Monday night the Santa Ana City Council will consider joining the Orangeline Development Authority. Their city staff has already approved the notion. You can read the recommended action below. They want to spend over $50K in Measure M money in order to pay the membership fee for this Development Authority. That’s a lot of cash for a membership card. And that is money that won’t be spent fixing our streets.
A Dutch engineering firm, Arcadis, is involved as a partner in this venture. Yes, that is the same Arcadis that was recently accused of price dumping. Here is what I found out about those charges on Forbes.com:

Engineering group Arcadis NV has been accused of price dumping to secure four government projects by a competitor and will be taken to court on Friday, according to construction industry website Cobouw online.

According to the report, engineering company Royal Haskoning filed a complaint with a court in The Hague, demanding Aracadis no longer be considered a bidder for four regional public works projects worth 40 mln eur per year.

Royal Haskoning said Arcadis, the lowest bidder, bid 10 pct below the price of its own costs, according to Cobouw.

Royal Haskoning, which was said to be hoping to win a long-term contract with public works officials if Arcadis was shut out, said public works regulations already require that Arcadis be eliminated.

So far Arcadis has only spent a million dollars. But this allows the proponent of the Mag Lev system to call it a public-private system. No it’s not.

Who exactly is going to benefit from this multi billion dollar boondoggle? There are not many people in Santa Ana who can afford to pay $40 to go to Los Angeles. But the system starts in Irvine. Now it makes sense. This system will be an expensive way to move rich people around.

But the working poor in Santa Ana and other cities in the path of the Mag Lev will be underwriting the fancy train for the wealthy. (See picture below).

And why would Pulido want to put this system underground? That too makes sense. It will allow him to make sure that his developer buddies, like Mike Harrah, get to buy the land atop the system for pennies on the dollar. They they will build lofts for the rich people who will be riding this train.

A train by the way that terminates in Palmdale. Who the heck needs to go to Palmdale?

Be sure to let Pulido and company know how you feel about this Mag Lev scheme at Monday night’s City Council meeting. You can read the agenda here.

Pulido’s latest scheme must be stopped. I urge all Orange County progressives to show up and speak up at the Santa Ana City Council meeting.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.