Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, who owes her seat to having been married to Sonny Bono when he died, is launching a new criticism of the Vegas HSR project: that it would come at the expense of the Inland Empire. Obviously Mack, like John Boehner before her, is oblivious to the fact that many of her constituents will benefit from Vegas HSR, particularly the construction jobs. But she's concerned about the Indian casinos, like Casino Morongo, that might lose out to Vegas when Californians find it's easier to get to Vegas than ever before via a high speed train:
But Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, said Reid -- a longtime proponent of a Southern California-to-Las Vegas rail line -- stands to gain from the provision at her district's expense. With a fast train in place to take people from Los Angeles to the Vegas Strip, the Inland area would likely lose out on tourist revenue, particularly at the region's Indian casinos, she said....
"He's stifling our economy," Bono Mack said. "We're just going to shuttle people away from the Inland Empire."
So wouldn't one solution to this be to build HSR to Palm Springs? Funny how she doesn't propose that.
As the article notes Mack voted with her party against the stimulus and against the $8 billion in HSR money. Which, it must be noted, will benefit the California High Speed Rail project most of all. A project that many of her constituents will directly benefit from. Look at a map of the 45th district - much of it includes the I-215 corridor, the corridor along which HSR is likely to run on the LA-SD portion of the route.
I guess this is a marginally less ridiculous form of HSR denial, but not by much. The solution here isn't to attack the Vegas HSR project, but to expand mass transit options so that Palm Springs and its casinos are included as well.
And to remind Mack, and everyone else in the Inland Empire, that high speed trains run in two directions.
UPDATE: Thanks to my Calitics co-blogger David Dayen for bringing my attention to this priceless smackdown of Darrell Issa, a Congressman from San Diego, who attacked the "earmark" for Vegas HSR which, as David Shuster points out in the clip, doesn't actually exist:
Worth noting that Issa too represents a district that will benefit from HSR. God, these people are idiots.