AP Enterprise: Vegas rail: a gamble or good thing?

March 25, 2012 - 2:35 PM
Train To Nowhere?

In this Jan. 25, 2012, photo, Victorville, Calif., Mayor Ryan McEachron poses for a photo on a plot of land on the Mojave Desert city's far outskirts that is proposed for a station on the DesertXpress high-speed rail line to Las Vegas. The Obama administration is on the verge of loaning a Nevada company linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as much as $4.9 billion to build a high-speed train from Victorville to the gambling palaces of Las Vegas. The project is anchored to the untested idea that car-loving Californians will pull off busy Interstate 15 on the edge of the Mojave Desert after driving about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, then board a train for a 150 mph ride to the famous Strip. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Nevada company is on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from the Obama administration to build a high-speed train that would rocket tourists from the middle of nowhere to the casinos of Las Vegas.

The vast park-and-ride project is hooked to the idea that car-loving Californians will drive about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, pull off Interstate 15 and board a train for the final leg to the famous Strip.

Planners for privately held DesertXpress imagine that millions of travelers a year will one day flock to a station outside down-on-its-luck Victorville, on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

A decision by the Federal Railroad Administration is not expected until mid-year.