VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- On a dusty, rock-strewn expanse at the edge of the Mojave Desert, a company linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to build a bullet train that would rocket tourists from the middle of nowhere to the gambling palaces of Las Vegas.From my house to the proposed station is right about 100 miles and given that I'm a big fan of trains, I'd probably be considered a prime candidate to use this service.
Privately held DesertXpress is on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from the Obama administration to build the 150 mph train, which could be a lifeline for a region devastated by the housing crash or a crap shoot for taxpayers weary of Washington spending.
The vast park-and-ride project hinges on the untested idea that car-loving Californians will drive about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, pull off busy Interstate 15 and board a train for the final leg to the famous Strip.
Planners imagine that millions of travelers a year will one day flock to a station outside down-on-its-luck Victorville, a small city where shuttered storefronts pock the historic downtown.
If I've already driven 100 miles I'm going to go ahead and drive the remaining 175 to Las Vegas and get there and leave there on my schedule. I'm not going to leave my car in middle of the desert just to save an hour off the trip. And that doesn't take into consideration the cost of the train tickets which are certainly going to be more than the cost of gas.
This is a political payoff, nothing more.