NABE Silicon Valley RoundTable

NABE Silicon Valley RoundTable

The Economics of California’s High Speed Rail Project

Speaker(s):  William Grindley with financial analysis input from William Warren
Meeting date:  May 11, 2010

In November 2008, Californian voted for Prop 1A (52%) - the high-speed rail initiative with a $33B cost and the promise of a 2hour 40 minute SF-LA ride, costing $55 each way. One year later the cost had increased to nearly $43B and the ridership model’s new one-way price was $105. By its tenth year of operation (2030), the Authority said ridership should be over 39 million and ‘operating surplus’ (profits) should be $3.2B. While the California High Speed Rail Authority did a wonderful job of promoting the concept, their confidence in their pre-Prop 1A assertions of profits has nearly evaporated. Today the Authority’s plans call for a ‘revenue guarantee’ which, although claimed not to be the subsidy prohibited by the law authorizing Prop 1A (AB3034), is truly the sine qua non of the project’s future. William Grindley is a resident of Atherton (151 Laurel Street, Atherton, CA 94027 (650) 324 1069). He is a graduate in Architecture from Clemson University (1965), in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1972) and a member of the Planning Commission of the Town of Atherton. He was Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 1965-67), ran a small savings bank in Peru (1967-69) then was at MIT, the World Bank, and Stanford Research Institute (1973-1986) until he founded and directed Pacific Strategies until his retirement in 2006.

Mr. William Warren has over 35 years in the computer software and hardware marketplace, with an emphasis on the telecommunications, storage systems, and healthcare markets.   He has extensive experience in finance, marketing, sales, software development, quality, and product planning and product line management.  Bill's career varies from the US Navy, IBM, and ROLM Telecommunications, to a number of small start-ups, and over ten years of consulting in the telecommunications industry.  Bill received his undergraduate degree and his MBA from Stanford in the 1960's.

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