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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Treat Your Gentry Well

Nothing says entitled quite so much as personal road a from ones homes to ones office on public property. Move over, King Louis, California has a brand new Sun King.
How convenient... Plans reveal Elon Musk's tunnel under L.A. will actually go from his office to his Bel Air homes
If the tone of the foreign press is a bit catty not to worry. The domestic press abounds with praise and platitudes. Example: "Digging tunnels is a laborious process and the billionaire plans to develop new drilling technology that would dig and reinforce tunnels as it goes along." It should be noted that Musk is the owner of a second hand tunneling machine and not a designer of anything mechanical but why split hairs?
Should anyone be surprised by this?
"His Boring Co. has applied for an excavation permit to extend its electric-vehicle tunnel in Hawthorne into Los Angeles, connecting the South Bay, Westside and San Fernando Valley, city officials said, according to Daily Breeze. Although the city's Bureau of Engineering did not release details of the permit request, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has supported the plan."
Applied for an excavation permit? Can anyone apply for one of those permits? Sounds so routine, something akin to seeking permission to build a chicken coop behind the garage. As a matter of fact it is quickly become routine for servile elected officials of both parties on both coasts to issue permits to develop public land as his lordship pleases.
From the Baltimore Sun;
( Governor Larry ) Hogan announced his support for the project on Thursday. He posted photos of himself, Rahn, Boring Co. executives and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh touring the fenced-off site near the intersection of Maryland 175 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Hanover where the tunneling is expected to begin. Administration officials said they will treat the hyperloop like a utility, and permitted it in the same way the state allows electric companies to burrow beneath public rights-of-way. “We have all sorts of utilities beneath our roadways,” Rahn said. “In essence, this didn't need anything more than a utility permit.”
Of course. What else, pray thee tell? A written contract? Legislative approval? Liability insurance?
The state is giving exclusive use of 10.2 miles of state owned right of way to a single company and it's put in the same category as laying fiber optic cable.

Got that? It will be built entirely with private money presumably for the purpose of making money yet with no bidding process, no legislative action and evidently no bonding requirements to protect the taxpayers.
A Maryland Department of Transportation representative on Wednesday told Capital News Service it would not disclose those details citing "confidential commercial information," and also indicated that no public dollars were being spent on the project.
Again, the detail are confidential. No cronyism here!
Lest readers score the proposed Baltimore to Washington hyperloop a fait accompli there is one sticking point. The gullible state of Maryland owns just 10.2 miles of the approximate 35 mile Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The remainder is federally owned and before this hyperloop to nowhere is begun someone in the media should ask the obvious. First, where are you going to put the dirt? A 12 foot diameter bore 10 miles long should yield about 225,000 cubic yards of dirt. Sure that problem is solvable but should not the solution be announced up front? Second, will the Boring Company be required to post performance / decommissioning bonding? Without bonding the taxpayers bear the entire risk of a very risky project. What is the state's cut of the action in the off chance the project does make money?

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