In my post on 1 February, Phantoms of Mojave Desert Transportation Projects, I noted the relatively quiet state of two major transportation projects that would impact the Mojave Desert, to include the high speed rail line titled the "Desert Xpress". In the post, I surmised that since Federal funds were allocated for the LA-San Francisco line that may have doomed the prospects of the Desert Xpress, which would connect Victorville with Las Vegas. In the past couple of weeks developments seem to have given new life to both the Desert Xpress and a Mag-Lev train concept, despite the diversion of Federal funds to the LA-SF line.
Even though some political opponents termed the project the "Sin City Express" and derided the use of funds as wasteful. Although the wasteful spending claims create political reluctance, the project actually would have some political traction otherwise because Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and California Republicans Jerry Lewis and others would see the construction of such infrastructure as an economic benefit to their constituents.
The political stalling may have kept the Desert Xpress line out of the running for Federal funds this year, but according to news early this month the political stars may be realigning, although it could be a while before it can get some attention from cash-strapped DC. In the meantime, the Export-Import Bank of China has indicated its interest in providing a revitalizing $7 billion dollar loan to the Mag-Lev project. I'm personally not sure if any high speed rail line between Vegas and Victorville is the wisest use of funds when there are plenty of other more worthwhile transportation needs, but we certainly would not need two! If interest (and financing) for these projects is maintained, more scrutiny will have to be paid on the designated route, and what impact it would have on biological resources.