New Cali High-Speed Rail Looks Doomed To Fail Before Construction Even Starts
California’s newest high-speed rail line project already appears to be a failed experiment before workers even break ground.
The proposed line would take passengers from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada — a trip that takes roughly three hours by car. A high-speed train would reduce that time to 90 minutes.
During an Oct. 23 meeting, California’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank agreed to issue a whopping $3.2 billion in bonds to help pay for construction of the portion of the rail that’s located in the state.
The money will be used by DesertXpress — the company behind the futuristic rail line — to pay for 135 miles of rail, stations, train cars and other necessary things.
Unfortunately, it looks like this direct route to Sin City has already hit a major speed bump.
In short, it’s unclear what, exactly, is the point of this high-speed rail line — especially for the millions of Californians who don’t live in Victorville.
“If you’re driving from Los Angeles to Victorville, by the time you get there, you’re pretty much halfway to Vegas,” Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, told industry publication Construction Dive.
“So why would you stop and leave your car somewhere and take a train and then have to walk to wherever your destination is — or take a cab or an Uber or Lyft — when you can just drive your car there?”
To get to Victorville, Los Angeles residents will have to fight traffic and the terrain in their own cars or be willing to shell out enough money for other means of transportation.
“If they were going to go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, they might have a chance of attracting some customers, but going through the mountain would be extremely expensive,” O’Toole said.
“They’re building the easy part of the rail line but not the part that they need to build to actually attract customers.”
Although high-speed rail lines are touted as an environmentally friendly and cheap way to move people around the state, California’s track record with the technology is less than stellar.
A proposed line from Los Angeles to San Francisco was finally put on hold after the budget of over $75 billion threatened to spiral out of control.
While critics think the Victorville-Las Vegas line will be a commercial failure, the true test will come after the projected 2023 finish date.
Assuming the project is finished on time, it will put California in a strange twilight between dystopian hell and futuristic wonderland.
Residents may be able to take a high-speed train to a gambling oasis, but many will return home to cities that are still grappling with medieval diseases and a worrying number of homeless people.
For now, the only thing this railway looks like it will bring California is more failure.
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