Fortunately, advocates for a high-speed maglev rail line from Las Vegas to Orange County are still moving forward. Good on them. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D?-NV) is being lured (aka paid off) to support a not-so-high speed rail line from Vegas to Victorville.
So why should we be furious? I’ll explain after the flip.
First off, this line isn’t complete. Even the Desert Xpress web site admits that there’s no plan in place yet to connect the rail line from Victorville to Los Angeles or Orange County… Or even The Inland Empire, for that matter! And with virtually no mass transit currently in place connecting Victorville to San Bernardino, how the hell will visitors from Las Vegas get to LA or OC? And how will LA and OC residents heading to Vegas get to Victorville?
Secondly, what’s so bad about maglev? Contrary to some rumors, maglev is proven technology that works. And better yet, it’s very clean technology! Come on, shouldn’t we really be considering the most fuel-efficient and least carbon-emitting technology possible?
Now don’t get me wrong, the Desert Xpress does use proven steel rail technology. And if they do it all electric, it can be clean. However, it’s not as fast as maglev.
And again, the proposed line is incomplete! Most of the traffic congestion along the 15 North to Vegas and 15 South to OC happens in The Inland Empire. Trust me, I’m quickly becoming a veteran of sitting in traffic in Ontario or Rancho Cucamonga. So how would a rail line to Victorville with no plan to connect it to at least Ontario or Palmdale (cities that will actually have California High Speed Rail stations) actually help relive traffic where it matters most, in The Inland Empire? And how will visitors from Nevada be able to get to LA or OC?
In my humble opinion, I think Harry Reid’s being duped. The Desert Xpress, as is, is nothing more than a lame-ass boondoggle that won’t do much of anything to solve the Vegas to LA/OC transit problem! If we’re serious about real transit solutions, we should ask Harry Reid and all the other backers of this hot-mess-in-the-making to either come home to the already planned Anaheim to Las Vegas maglev line or force Desert Xpress booster Sid Rogich to come forth with a real plan to connect his Vegas to Victorville line to Los Angeles and Orange County.
Seriously, Desert Xpress either needs to be fixed or be dumped. If we are to have a rail line like this, it should be done right so people will actually want to ride it.