One radio host to another: CA high-speed rail a scam

Feb 14, 2019, 8:07 AM
high-speed rail...
This Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 file photo shows one of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Another hit radio host shared the microphone with KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson on Wednesday; John Kobylt of KFI AM 640’s John and Ken called to talk about California’s high-speed rail line, one day after California Governor Gavin Newsom suspended the project.

“There is no way to quantify how outrageous it was,” Kobylt said of the train. “The English language doesn’t have words to explain what a colossal fraud this was.”

Based in Los Angeles, Koblyt is Southern California’s government watchdog on the radio.

The high-speed rail line, Kobylt explained, when originally voted on, promised for $33 billion to join the cities of Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The L.A. to San Francisco trip was supposed to take about two hours and 40 minutes.

RELATED: New interest group aims for advanced NW high-speed rail

As the project progressed, however, the Sacramento and San Diego lines got axed, the travel time between L.A. and San Francisco nearly doubled, and the entire cost shot up to $98 billion. Kobylt remarked that taxpayers ended up with “triple the price for about half the mileage.”

Now, he said, all that remains is a collection of pillars for raised rail known by some as “[former CA Governor] Jerry Brown’s Stonehenge.”

“A thousand years from now, people are going to come and see these monuments and wonder, what the [heck] is this?” Kobylt said.

Kobylt believes the entire rail line was all corruption, just about government giving contracts to friends. He doesn’t see high-speed rail playing any significant role in reversing climate change.

“‘Green’ is the new racket,” he said. “What happens with these green companies that are politically connected is, they get a lot of taxpayer money and they produce no usable products in a lot of cases. This high-speed rail is a great example.”

Dori compared California’s rail line to the potential bullet train between Portland and Vancouver, B.C. being pushed for by Washington Governor Jay Inslee. It’s got nothing to do with environmental friendliness, Dori stated, but everything to do with Inslee’s hopes for a presidential campaign.

Kobylt agreed, calling high-speed rail a “scam” that uses climate change as “the cover story of the decade.”

“What they need is a cover story,” he said. “The latest cover story that seems to emotionally manipulate people is, ‘Well, we’ve got to save the planet from global warming.'”

He elaborated, “The average person is easily scared and shamed, because if you object to something like high-speed rail, [people say,] ‘Well, what do you want, a polluted environment?'”

The fact is, Kobylt said, people in California simply wouldn’t use a bullet train. There are many flights between L.A. and San Francisco each day that can be found for as low as $60, he noted.

He also finds the freeway between San Francisco and L.A. to be perfectly sufficient for drivers.  Taking I-5 between San Francisco and L.A. is about 380 miles, or six hours in 60 mph traffic.

“There is no market for this — people don’t travel on trains, nor do they want to travel on trains from L.A. to San Francisco,” Kobylt said. “Nobody would use the stupid things.”

The problem, however, starts not with the politicians, but with the voters, according to Kobylt.

“If you elect criminals, you can’t be shocked when they engage in criminal behavior,” he said. “Stop voting for these people … You can’t blame bank thieves for holding up banks, it’s what they do.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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One radio host to another: CA high-speed rail a scam