Does obstacle to one bullet train project apply to other, too?

train_wreck_num_2The Obama administration continues to push California to build its $68 billion bullet train, a measly 5 percent of which ($3.5 billion) comes from the federal government. After the first segment is built in the Central Valley, however, there is little hope of future funding from any source except California taxpayers, since private investors want illegal revenue or ridership guarantees and much of Congress — including but not limited to House Republicans — is cool to subsidizing one state’s gigantic public-works project.

But this hasn’t cooled the White House push for the project — even though the boondoggle violates plainly written federal regulations.

On another such project, however, is common sense finally sinking in? Not really. But there is an obstacle. This is from KPCC/PBS:

“You can cancel that high speed train trip to Las Vegas — at last for now. The Department of Transportation has decided to ‘suspend further consideration’ of a $5 billion federal loan application from a private company that wants to link Southern California with the gambling and entertainment mecca.

“The Department of Transportation put the XpressWest high speed train project on pause because the company couldn’t come up with enough U.S. manufacturers for rail cars and tracks. The department prioritizes projects that use American-made products.”

“The XpressWest train would take passengers to Las Vegas from Victorville — a connection point with California’s proposed high speed train running from Southern California to the Bay Area.”

“Both projects are subject to a ‘Made in the U.S.’ standard.

“South Bay Democrat Janice Hahn, who sits on the House railroads subcommittee, explains the dearth of U.S.-based manufacturers: ‘That’s one of the problems with our economy, is that we’re not growing up enough businesses to build these transportation projects in the future.'”

But if the Vegas-to-Victorville project is in danger on these grounds, how is the Central Valley project proceeding? Curious stuff.



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  1. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 20 July, 2013, 11:15

    If it is such a great boost to the economy, how come private industry isn’t on board with this and reap the harvest of ticket prices?

    Next obvious question.

    I don’t know much about Musk’ idea but if it is built with private funds, who am I to judge?

    In regards to US manufacturers, let me be the first to raise my hand and say we have only ourselves to blame for letting large industry go offshore. I have family that spent generations in the steel industry. The last one closed up in that area last year. It will have to change or we will not survive.

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