They’re talking about building a high-speed rail connection between Las Vegas and Victorville, California. Of course, they’ve been talking about that idea for years. The difference now is that our government is seriously considering making a $4.9 billion loan — that’s billion — to help finance the project.
Amazing, isn’t it, that after the disastrous failure of Solyndra the federal government would still consider making any loans to private firms, much less loans of billions of dollars? That’s not the only amazing thing about this proposal, however.
For those who aren’t familiar with California geography, Victorville is 68 miles from Los Angeles. The concept for the “DesertXpress” train thus envisions L.A. residents bound for Vegas white-knuckling their way through the appalling southern California traffic and then, just as they reach the wide open spaces of the High Desert, getting off the road and waiting for a train! If they want to play golf in Vegas, they’ll wrestle their clubs onto the train, too! And then, after a ride that is only about an hour shorter than driving, the train will deposit them at a station in some remote part of Vegas, so they can catch a cab to get to the Strip! And they’ll happily pay at least $50 one-way (or more than they would pay for gas, even at today’s high prices) for this privilege!
Nothing wrong with that well-conceived concept, eh? Skeptics might contend that our leaders should follow a simple rule: if a business plan is so fantastic that even venture capitalists won’t buy in, the federal government shouldn’t, either. If DesertXpress can’t convince capitalists to invest, taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to fill the void — no matter what kind of phony feasibility studies or rosy projections of increased employment might be cited in support of the project.
Remember, too, that the United States doesn’t have money on hand right now. If we loan money to DesertXpress, we’ll first have to borrow it from other sources and pay interest. And when the DesertXpress goes toes up, as common sense dictates it must, our loan won’t be repaid, and we’ll have to dig even deeper into our own pockets to pay off what we borrowed. Can our government seriously be considering putting us in such a position? Seriously?