This image is about to get a makeover:
That's the map of the USDOT HSR corridors. One corridor that's not there is Los Angeles to Las Vegas. That is changing today:
The U.S. Transportation secretary will announce today the designation of a federal high-speed-rail corridor between Las Vegas and Southern California, a major assist that enables the long-imagined train route to compete for $8 billion in economic recovery funding and other federal support, the Las Vegas Sun has learned.
The announcement comes as two proposed fast trains are vying to connect Las Vegas and Southern California, a race that has intensified since President Barack Obama unleashed an unprecedented investment in high-speed rail as part of the stimulus bill approved by Congress.
It is unclear whether today’s announcement will favor one of the competing projects over the other. However, the federal designation improves the chances that a train will be developed between the two regions by opening the door to federal aid. Analysts think only one train system will be built.
DesertXpress has not as of yet planned to seek federal aid. I suspect that will have to change. Vegas is in the middle of a severe downturn, which means there's going to be much less private money available to fund it. The maglev is still alive, although with Sen. Harry Reid having switched his support to DesertXpress, I don't see the maglev plan lasting a whole lot longer. Some of its remaining backers include Bellagio CEO Bruce Aguilera, but the Bellagio and the other Vegas resorts are going to have their hands full riding out the recession.
I expect DesertXpress to be the "last project standing" along the Vegas HSR corridor. Whether it gets built, of course, is another matter entirely.