Rendering of new Anaheim transportation hub, awaiting whatever comes its way.
Rendering of new Anaheim transportation hub, awaiting whatever comes its way.

Follow the Bouncing High-Speed Trains

Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who had earlier seemed to be the biggest supporter in the U.S. Senate for a magnetic-levitation (Maglev) train from Las Vegas to Anaheim, is now pooh-poohing such a system, favoring instead a high-speed, diesel-electric line from Sin City to Victorville.

Besides the "yuck" factor--I mean, come on: have you been to Victorville?--what's most interesting about Reid choosing the proposed $5 million billion DesertXpress over what Republicans in Congress mocked as the "Sin Express" Maglev (whose cost is now pegged at $12 million billion but, at 300 mph, it's trains are twice as fast as its competitor) is who is pushing DesertXpress in Nevada. It's GOP power player Sig Rogich, who recently was named a leader of a group of Republicans backing Reid's bid for re-election in 2010, according to the Associated Press.

But the apparent setback for the Maglev has not deterred the equally heavy hitters plotting a Treasure Island-to-Pirates of the Caribbean levitated train, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Bruce Aguilera, an executive with the Bellagio and chairman of the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, and Neil Cummings, president of the American Magline Group consortium that would build the line, vow to press on and lobby their own friends in D.C.

Heck, after 150 years of this high-speed, Caesar's Palace-to-Magic Kingdom talk, wouldn't it be funny if both systems got built, with parallel lines carved through the desert between here and Hoover Dam? Funny in a total waste of taxpayer dollars way, of course.
In any event, Anaheim is pushing ahead plans for a gleaming new transportation hub with or without a bullet train--levitated or otherwise--dropping off hungover losers from the Wheel of Fortune slots. After all, a traditional high-speed train from Anaheim to San Francisco still appears to be a go . . . for now.

But the $179 million first phase of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, or ARTIC--which joint partners the city and Orange County Transportation Authority expect to be open ona 16-acre plot south of the Honda Center by 2013--is being designed for existing ground transportation and Metrolink and Amtrak trains the currently serve a station near Angel Stadium.

Bold prediction: If the city sticks with the ARTIC acronym, scores of future fourth graders in Anaheim schools will mispell "arctic" on spelling tests.

Bold compromise: Build the high-speed, diesel-electric line to Victorville, then have folks hop on a Maglev for the rest of the ride to Sleeping Beauty's Castle.


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