... & craps on the tracks
Among federally subsidized high-speed train projects that railroad taxpayers — including California's $68 billion boondoggle — none is more outlandish than a proposed $5.5 billion gamble on a quick train to Las Vegas.
Yet the federal Department of Transportation is considering rolling the dice on this loan for Xpress West, which would originate in Victorville, Calif. As pie-in-the-sky rail plans go, this one's a true novelty.
It's based on the premise that passengers will drive 75 miles from Los Angeles (or more than 100 miles from south Orange County) and board a train that will speed them the remaining 175 miles to Vegas.
“Nowhere in the world do people drive so far to board a train for such a short trip,” writes Wendell Cox, head of a public policy consulting firm.
Promoters say the train would be a boon for traffic-weary drivers. Except drivers would face more traffic en route to Victorville than they would from there to Vegas, Mr. Cox says.
Then there's Xpress West's problematic passenger projections, which typically dog these projects. Proponents project four times the ridership of Amtrak's Acela high-speed train in the Washington/New York corridor. Research by Oxford University calls this a “strategic misrepresentation.” That's being kind.
Whether it's an overly ambitious 520-mile high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco or a shortie to Sin City, taxpayers shouldn't be taken for these outrageous rides.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Valley Laurels & Lances
- Operation Santa Claus: The best deal of the Christmas season
- U.N. Watch: Iranian showdown
- Sunday pops
- ‘Vetting’ refugees: A dubious U.N. link
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Cyber insecurity: The feds fail to protect the public’s data
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Economics ignorance: We must do better