State flakes on tunnel analysis

University of the Pacific analyst Jeffrey Michael appears to have caught the state trying to weasel out of a cost-benefit analysis it promised to do on the peripheral tunnel.

 Last year the Bay Delta Conservation Plan announced it would do such an analysis — a sort of reckoning of the project’s true costs – after hemming and hawing for years. Instead, the state has released several minor studies.

“This is a complete regression to the position BDCP was taking a year ago when they were dodging the benefit-cost analysis question,” Michael writes.

I would remind you that Michael did his own cost-benefit analysis. He totaled up the value of everything out in the Delta: three highways; PG&E’s gas drilling operation and gas storage field, the largest in the state, accounting for 10 percent of the state’s energy grid; agriculture; boating and recreation; railroad rights-of-way; East Bay MUD’s water pipes; and more.

When all totaled, water accounted for only 20 percent of the assets out there. So … the state is proposing to spend billions to protect only 20 percent of the assets, and to leave all the rest — including Delta residents — at the mercy of the a possible major earthquake.

Clearly special interests and not logic are driving this plan. I believe Gov. Brown is well aware that a proper cost-benefit analysis would make clear that the tunnel is a terrible investment. Which is why such an analysis may never be done.

As for saving the Delta, that may be a farce, too. Read this. And this.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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