Monday, March 25, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
In reading Tuesday’s article concerning the XpressWest high-speed rail project, “Politics could derail XpressWest project,” I have to respond to Sen. Harry Reid’s comments; it’s not Tea Party sentiments that are against this project, it’s common sense.
The numbers cited by supporters for both ridership and jobs created are wildly inflated. Does it really take 200 people per mile to build a rail line? Maybe in the 1870s, but not today. Additionally, supporters seem to be of the mindset that if you build it, they (riders) will come. Have they done any realistic surveys of Southern California residents asking how many would actually use this service? At the proposed fare of $67 per passenger, how many passengers would it take to make this project viable? I frankly haven’t seen that number, but my guess is the train isn’t capable of carrying that many people and taxpayers will be stuck subsidizing it forever.
I have a better idea. Let’s take 10 percent of the money requested for this loan and use it to widen Interstate 15 between the Nevada-California state line and the Mountain Pass climb. Anyone who has ever tried to leave Southern Nevada on a Sunday for California knows that I-15 backs up several miles every Sunday afternoon because of the bottleneck at the state line. Widening I-15 would cost a fraction of what the rail advocates are proposing and be far more beneficial to many more taxpayers.
Sadly, our elected representatives seem to hell-bent on pouring taxpayers dollars down this rat hole. One last question I have for the high-speed rail supporters, when was the last time Amtrak made a profit?