Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 | 3 a.m.
Despite the economic downturn, Southern Nevadans are being treated to a spirited competition between two proposed high-speed train systems that would link Las Vegas with Southern California.
One group, backers of the $4 billion DesertXpress, intends to break ground by March on a steel-wheeled train that would run to Victorville, Calif. The competing American Maglev Group wants to build a $12 billion magnetic levitation train all the way to Anaheim, Calif., though it is not as far along in terms of planning.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the maglev team from forging ahead, as reported last week by Richard Velotta for the online version of the Las Vegas Sun, a sister publication of In Business Las Vegas.
This is great news because the maglev technology is far superior in terms of maintenance, travels much faster than traditional steel wheels on tracks, and would carry passengers over the heavily congested Cajon Pass along Interstate 15. That is something DesertXpress would not do.
Neil Cummings, president of the maglev group, made sense when he explained at a transportation forum at UNLV last month why his project would forge ahead even if DesertXpress gets off the ground. “Because if somebody has a choice between 300 mile-an-hour travel between Anaheim and Las Vegas or an hour and 40 minute (trip) between Las Vegas and Victorville and then get a taxi or hitch a ride or whatever you do, I’m pretty sure we’d win a competition.”
We agree hands down.
A train is a comfortable way to travel, but why ruin the experience by having to drive for several hours in heavy traffic from the L.A. basin to Victorville just to catch DesertXpress? It just doesn’t make any sense.
That is why we find it encouraging that Cummings is willing to press ahead with maglev, the best train option for the 21st century.