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End of the line: A high-speed train wreck

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Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

In case you didn't get the news that the Obama administration has pulled the brake cord on a high-speed train to Las Vegas, don't feel left out. Congress reportedly didn't get the word until after the federal Department of Transportation informed XpressWest in June that it was indefinitely suspending the agency's $5.5 billion federal loan application.

It was all very hush-hush, according to The Heritage Foundation. That is, after analysis revealed how taxpayers would get railroaded by this boondoggle, which was supposed to run from Victorville, Calif., to Las Vegas.

This ridiculous proposal was premised on the assumption that people would drive an hour and a half (or longer) from Los Angeles or other metropolitan areas to Victorville. An analysis by Wendell Cox for the Reason Foundation estimated that the train's ridership and revenue would be about two-thirds less than proponents' projections.

And if XpressWest defaulted on the loan, taxpayers would be on the hook for a proposal long on hyperbole — but precariously short on any real-world practicality.

Did we mention that this express through taxpayers' pockets was supported by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.?

If these overly expensive, subsidy-dependent, high-speed rail extravaganzas are all that advocates claim, they would attract private investors. Instead, they're pitched primarily by fact-challenged proponents and politicians, who ever-so-quietly catch the first train out of town when the folly of their invention is exposed.

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