There was a time when California dreamed. These were big dreams that built great things: railroads, dams, roads, universities, a way of life. California invented itself over a century-long stretch of public largesse and private ingenuity that gave this arid frontier, as Mark Twain put it, “a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day.” But that final clause is no longer true.
This day, it’s more like the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s barely laying any track over a quarter …
This article appears as “The Infrastructure of a Dream” in the April 19, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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