If you just read the Governor's tweet and based on its wording assume that the link embedded in the tweet will rush you at the speed of your server to a Wall Street Journal article describing a debacle in the making with California's plans for high speed rail, you will be spot on.
If you assume that the article is "fair and balanced" reporting, you will be completely wrong.
What you reach by clicking the governor's link is the following "snippet" from the Wall Street Journal:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced last week that he plans to divert to California some $300 million in high-speed rail funds that Florida rejected. Nice timing. California's Legislative Analyst's Office released a study last week warning the state legislature not to appropriate funds for the same project.
The state legislature's fiscal watchdog says California's high-speed rail authority, which is responsible for planning and overseeing the project, has grossly underestimated the cost. The authority projects that the 500-mile bullet train between Anaheim and San Francisco will cost $43 billion. The analysts start at $67 billion, which they say will go higher ...
To read more than that summary, you have to pay money to News Corporation, i.e., Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, and that is not an enjoyable way to spend money.
The actual May 2011 report from the Legislative Analyst's Office is here. If you read the actual report, as I did, you discover that the Wall Street Journal summary that you can read for free bears no relationship to the report itself. That did not surprise me. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal care little about careful evaluation of facts. (A trait shared by CNN and MSNBC as well.) They care about advancing a conservative agenda without regard to facts.
The report does not say the planned high speed rail project will turn into a fiscal "wreck." The report by the non-partisan "Congressional Budget Office style" agency of California says that the planning needs some adjustments to make it more apt to save money for the taxpayers. For example, it recommends:
1. The project should not start in California's Central Valley, because that is the section of the ultimate San Francisco to Los Angeles 500 mile high speed rail line that is least likely to generate significant fare revenue as the line starts working in individual segments.
2. The project should be taken over by CalTrans, the state's Transportation Department, rather than a newly created authority. (There's a novel idea! Improve and use the existing departments of state government rather than spending taxpayer money to create new ones.)
3. The feds should be asked for some more time to evaluate the Central Valley routing and station planning. Right now California is pushing some time deadlines imposed as a condition of federal funding of the project that will force moving forward with the Central Valley segment.
4. The supposed "warning" to the legislature "not to appropriate funds for the same project" is really a warning not to go forward with a large chunk of planning and engineering spending that presumes the Central Valley segment will be done first in the presently existing plan for routing and stations.
What the report does point out is that the cost-benefit studies of the implementation of the plan show that it is likely to save the State from having to build 3000 new lane miles of freeways, 5 new airport runways and 90 new departure gates between now and 2030. The cost for those improvements would be about $100,000,000,000, which dwarfs the costs being projected for the rail line.
All this raises a question in my mind. The Governor tried to use this new report from the California Legislative Analyst's Office (or at least a utterly dishonest report on it in the Wall Street Journal) to justify how "we made the right call in WI." Presumably he is suggesting that the report should be used by California to proceed as wisely as he did, and avoid a "train wreck." So here is the question: Where is the cost-benefit analysis that Governor Walker used to kill the Madison-to-Milwaukee high speed rail line? Can he share it with the public so we can satisfy ourselves that he made the "right call," as he claims?