President Bush has signed into law the revision of a 2005 transportation bill that authorizes $45 million for the LA-Las Vegas Maglev project. The revision corrects a technical error made in the original draft that prevented the project from getting its money. In the interim, proposals for a more traditional high speed train along the route have garnered attention.
The AP has some background details on the route:
The train is meant to ease traffic on increasingly clogged Interstate 15, the main route for the millions of Southern Californians who make the 250-plus-mile drive to Las Vegas each year. There is no train on the route—Amtrak’s Desert Wind between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was canceled in 1997 because of low ridership.
It’s interesting that Amtrak’s route was done away with in the cheap-gas 1990’s. With any luck, a high speed route could bring these riders back. One of the issues with rail travel in the United States seems to be just getting people to realize that it’s there as a viable option. Hopefully a highly visible hubbub about futuristic train technology will do the trick along this route.