So is there a plan for a train to run from the House of Mouse to Sin City? Depends on who you ask. With the elimination of the Amtrak Desert Wind in 1997 due to low ridership, travelers driving Interstate 15 from L.A. to Vegas are fighting more traffic. Never mind what happens when the Cajon Pass is closed due to snow.
Enter proponents of the levitating train.
The levitating train only levitates a couple of inches above the rail based on magnetic forces and it actually called a Maglev train. It’s a great concept – you build a long track from point A to point B and run a train on it that can exceed 300 mph because there is no friction between wheels and rails. The electromagnets push the train along and get up to 300 mph – meaning Los Angeles to Vegas in less than an hour. All aboard the Gambler’s Express!
Sounds good right?
Problem is they want to build this particular train through the Mojave desert – a project begging to have environmentalists slobbering at the mouth looking for any reason they can to derail the project in the hopes of saving the habitat of an animal that hasn’t been seen for over 300 years in that area, but because that animal isn’t extinct and that is its habitat, if we destroy it, those animals will never return – even though they may only live in the Australian outback. Same argument can be made for some stupid plant that may be growing out there. So it’s doubtful that it will materialize just for that reason alone. But on the paper-thin slim chance that the environmental terrorists at the EPA and Green Peace don’t even bat an eye at the Gambler’s Express, just how in the hell is this thing going to get funded?
Now granted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 doesn’t specifically address a Gambler’s Express maglev line from Disneyland to Vegas, the project’s number one champion happens to be one Senator Harry Reid of Nevada – yeah, that Harry Reid and he’s just slobbering at the mouth to get it built. The Associated Press listed Reid as praising the passage of the original law that gave money to fund the studies necessary to build this maglev line. According to the AP in June 2008 Reid said that a maglev line would, “safely and efficiently move people between Southern California and Las Vegas.” Reid recognizes that Southern California is important to the economy of the most populous city in his home state so of course he’d going to support it in spite of what Taxpayers for Common Sense may have told so-called watch dog group FactCheck.org. FactCheck.org even admits that Reid was instrumental in securing the initial $45 million signed off by President Bush. The AP also reports that the Gambler’s Express has received the most federal funding to date for such projects with only two other projects on the East Coast competing for money.
But here’s where the argument begins to mix metaphors as it were.
The original law passed to fund this project came in June 2008 and was signed into law by President Bush. Not one of his better judgments, but without a line-item veto he had to decide if the bulk of the transportation bill was worth a Reid Pork Project. Whereas ARRA only adds money to a pot to be used by the Department of Transportation as its secretary sees fit.
Somewhere along the line the Gambler’s Express project got lumped in with ARRA because someone in Harry Reid’s office originally said that the project would get a “big chunk” of the ARRA money then Reid’s office backpedaled saying the project was simply “eligible” for money from ARRA. Sounds more than a little suspicious if you ask me – so which is it Senator Reid? I think the reason he won’t answer that question is because he knows that if he verifies the “big chunk” allegation, then he will be accused for slipping pork into a bill – and rightfully so, except it wasn’t ARRA in which he slipped the pork it was the Transportation Spending Bill last summer. If he answers the “eligible” allegation and the project doesn’t materialize, his political career is in jeopardy because the people of Nevada will feel betrayed. This isn’t rocket science, folks. All you have to do is look at how Senators and Representatives have behaved in the past to see right through the double-speak they throw out.
However, FactCheck.org believes that it has killed the rumor that claims the Gambler’s Express isn’t a pork project. Why they would believe that no one except them knows. Maybe they have something to hide? They are right in that the Secretary of Transportation has sole discretion as to how the money is spent. But you have to stop and remember that one of Harry Reid’s best friends happens to be Nancy Pelosi – the person in charge of the House responsible for how money gets allocated and to whom – i.e. how much money does the DOT get in the first place. To deny that the Gambler’s Express is a pork project for Harry Reid is to deny that feathered thing walking on webbed feet and quacking is a duck.