Well, it's official: There'll be no 300 mph levitating train connecting Disneyland to Las Vegas. The dream of being able to park outside the Matterhorn and, two hours later, alight at Caesar's Palace, has gripped the imagination of forward-thinking humanity for years. But now its tireless champion, Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D), has thrown in the towel, even though his titanium-skinned chimera has been government-funded to the tune of $75 million. Maybe it's the imploding economy or the contrarian vision of those who favor a 270-mile monorail instead of a magnetic levitating train, but Harry's had enough.
Well, not entirely. Yesterday he reluctantly dropped his 30-year push for a maglev express, noting that its original cost projection had bulged slightly from $12 billion to possibly $40 billion. Still, he has retreated to a cheaper Plan B -- a high-speed express connecting Las Vegas with another cultural hub, Victorville, that's closer to his home state. The new, DesertXpress (sounds like Victorville's adult entertainment guide) is budgeted to come in between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, which means close to $10 billion. The idea is for the privately funded DesertXpress to follow Interstate 15 about 183 miles, shaving hours off automobile drives. The only problem, as some cynics may see it, is that people will still have to drive hours to get to Victorville. But then, the ride can be scenic in the spring.
"I've been working on this for 30 years," Reid is quoted by the L.A. Times. "We've
gotten nowhere. Maglev projects have been abandoned around the world.
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It's time to stop talking and start doing something." Exactly.