Less than a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom brought California’s dreams for a LA to San Fran bullet train crashing down, when he said in February that he is ending the state’s hugely expensive and hopelessly quixotic high-speed rail line fiasco (which would have been completed in 2033 at a staggering cost of $77 billion), California is about to unleash another high speed train project, and this one is even more idiotic.
The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) has authorized a $3.2 billion tax-exempt, fixed-rate revenue bond issuance to help DesertXpress Enterprises, an affiliate of Virgin Trains USA, build a high-speed train from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas. The new XpressWest service, at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour, will take about 90 minutes one way.
There is just one problem: Victorville, located in SoCal’s high desert, is quite literally in the middle of nowhere.
In theory, it’s not a terrible idea: California has for decades sought to find a fast path between Los Angleles and Las Vegas. In practice, the fact that the train runs to Victorville assures that the project is DOA.
The XpressWest between California and Las Vegas, according to the IBank staff report, will take about half the time of a car trip, but Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, thinks that there simply won’t be enough potential passengers — at least enough to make the new bullet train a success.
“If you’re driving from Los Angeles to Victorville, by the time you get there, you’re pretty much halfway to Vegas,” O’Toole said, “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?” – READ MORE