The Rocket Rods were just caught up in one of Paul Pressler's economic black holes, and what was supposed to be a real crowd pleaser ended up being a dysmal failure.
The Rocket Rods were conceived by Tony Baxter as a replacement for the PM because Pressler's New Tomorrowland was lacking any sort of D or E-Ticket attraction (Alien Encounter and George Lucas's new 3-D would have filled that void in the original Tomorrowland design). Unfortunately, Pressler held the Imagineers to an exact $100 million budget for the ENTIRE land, and any deviation from that figure was prohibited. If the Imagineers needed something more for an attraction, they had to cut something out of another. Well to save money from the budget, Tony got GM involved and they agreed to put up $25 million of the ride's $50 million budget. But because of the Test Track fiasco, GM pulled out of the Rocket Rods sponsership. So Tony asked Pressler for the necessary $25 million extra. But Pressler, being the idiot that he was, did not give WDI ONE DIME above the set $25 million budget for RR. So, what DL guests saw was a $50 million ride built with $25 million. Corners had to be cut everywhere; from lack of research and testing of the ride system to the un-baked turns to the bare-bones queue area to the abandonment of most of the original effects. Needless to say, nobody at WDI was the least bit surprised when RR went down.
So let this be a lesson to those feckless executives: if you're going to build something, put up the money and build it right the first time. These kinds of accounting tricks will NOT work in a field so artistically diverse as a theme park, and when your petty schemes fail your cries of blame will fall on deaf ears.