Today’s Headlines

Featured Headline: Part two of the L.A. Times’ exceptional series on the vampire business known as “Buy Here Pay Here Auto Sales” ran in this morning’s paper. This piece shows that jacking up the cost of cars and interest rates on underprivileged and desperate people is big business and that major investors are flicking to put millions of dollars into these legalized scams.

  • LAT: Let the Public Murals Bloom
  • Bike Jacking Attempt on 7th Street (Biking In L.A.)
  • Bullet Train Costs Ballooning (LAT, Daily News)
  • How Much Is Your Future Worth? (CAHSR Blog)
  • Street Services Not Incompetent, Just Wildly Underfunded (Daily News)
  • Two Stabbed at Hollywood Red Line Station Early This Morning (LA_Now)
  • National Photo Contest for “Peopled Powered Movement” (Alliance for Walking and Bicycling)
  • How Bad Was Traffic Near WeHo?  So Bad It Was Like Metro Was Trying to Improve the 101 (The Source)
  • Public Utilities Commission Takes Second Look at Controversial Rail Crossing (Glendale News-Press)
More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill
  • CA HSR needs a state tax to support the present bonds and the future borrowing that will be necessary to finish the train. More federal support would be nice too, but honestly, it would be foolish to count on that any time soon given the political dynamics in Congress today.

    We shouldn’t be able to borrow money at the state level without committing to a realistic plan to pay that money back. Unfortunately 1978’s Prop 13 and 2010’s Prop 26, make raising taxes and fees in the state a herculean task, while borrowing can proceed on a majority vote.

    HSR advocates should get to work supporting a train with a real revenue stream. Even people who are sympathetic to the concept of HSR will start to balk if cost estimates keep rising and the only way to pay for the train is borrowed money that has to be paid back by displacing other state spending on schools, aid to the poor, and even municipal transit.

  • If the train turns out to be profitable, great. But “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is a good motto here. The US has the highest vehicle ownership rate in the world (according to Shoup), so comparisons to other countries don’t necessarily work. A lot of the other countries with HSR also have much higher gasoline costs than we see in the U.S. (e.g. Japan).

    We should support HSR with a state tax, and if the tax turns out not to be necessary, we can always repeal it. At least that way the project will always be financially feasible, even if it takes a long time to build.