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Harry Reid’s Pet Bullet Train Project on Verge of Securing $4.9 Billion Government Loan

By Doug Powers  •  March 26, 2012 03:32 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

“Woo! Woo! Next stop, bankruptcy!”

Early last year Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the administration’s intention to sink $53 billion into high speed rail systems in the coming years. That news must have invigorated Harry Reid more than a cowboy poetry reading under his pomegranate trees, because now taxpayers might end up on the hook for an amount of money that could make Solyndra look insignificant:

On a dusty, rock-strewn expanse at the edge of the Mojave Desert, a company linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to build a bullet train that would rocket tourists from the middle of nowhere to the gambling palaces of Las Vegas.

Privately held DesertXpress is on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from the Obama administration to build the 150 mph train, which could be a lifeline for a region devastated by the housing crash or a crap shoot for taxpayers weary of Washington spending.

The vast park-and-ride project hinges on the untested idea that car-loving Californians will drive about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, pull off busy Interstate 15 and board a train for the final leg to the famous Strip.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has publicly blessed the train — it means jobs, he says — and it’s cleared several regulatory hurdles in Washington.

Yet even as the Federal Railroad Administration considers awarding what would be, by far, the largest loan of its type, its own research warns it’s difficult to predict how many people will ride the train, a critical measure of financial survival, an Associated Press review found.

Let me get this straight… the Obama administration might put taxpayers on the hook for billions to pay for a train so people can travel to the city that a couple of years ago Obama told them not to waste money in? “All aboard the Mixed Message Express!”

Then there’s the inevitable “well, we were gonna do this ourselves, but since you offered…”

DesertXpress officials once boasted they would build the line with private dollars, but they now plan to rely on FRA financing to cover the bulk of the cost.

Well why not?

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Posted in: Harry Reid,Pork

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