It’s Anyone’s Bet: Maglev or High-Speed Rail to Vegas

The choices: $12 billion for 300mph or $4 billion for 150mph

By Scott Weber
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:54 PM PDT
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It’s Anyone’s Bet: Maglev or High-Speed Rail to Vegas

Gavin Hellier/ Robert Harding

World's first commercial Magnetic Levitation Train (Maglev), which runs from Shanghai International airport to Pudong, Shanghai, China, Asia

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Two rail line proposals connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas are competing for federal funds and it’s anyone’s bet which one will win. One calls for a 300mph magnetic levitation train from Anaheim to Las Vegas. The other proposes a more conventional European style high-speed rail system.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to stack the deck in favor of the Euro-version, according to the LA Times. During an event to publicize the rail corridor, Reid said that he would try to scuttle $45 million in federal funds already earmarked for the maglev proposal.

Instead he favors bankrolling a plan put together by DesertXPress Enterprises that would create a 150mph train running between Victorville and Vegas. The lower cost system is estimated around $4 billion vs. $12 billion for the maglev according to the Times.

Proponents of the maglev system feel they still have the winning hand. They believe Congress is unlikely to reverse its decision to provide them the funding. Neil Cummings, president of the American Magline Group, a consortium of private companies involved in the project told the Times “We believe that nothing will change."

A high-speed rail system between Southern California and Nevada promises to dramatically reduce congestionon on I-15.

"For transportation, it's the most important thing that's happened to Nevada since Interstate 15," Reid told the Times. It’s a good wager Los Angeles gamblers agree.


 

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