Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Dose of Promethean Policy, Part 2, or, California-Nevada Interstate Maglev

It's been a relatively slow week for infrastructure news...it pretty much peetered out after Obama's budget. So I'm going to dust off something that's been in the news for the past few weeks--the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev. Last week, in his reply to the State of the Union, Gov. Parcell, er, Jindal, attacked the proposed project as wasteful pork. The project apparently is the chief whipping boy (along with the NEA) of the GOP: A Los Angeles Times article from a while back notes Boehner's assault on high-speed rail. Republicans have chastisted Senator Harry Reid of Searchlight, Nevada (an hour's drive from Vegas or the California line) for slipping the funding in as pork. Republicans forgot that the $8 billion has not been appropriated for any specific project as of yet. The maglev project would need $12-14 billion to be fully built, less than half of the projected price tag of the California High-Speed Rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Here's some more facts and analysis about the high-speed rail project. The maglev would use German techology to travel over dedicated tracks (no freight interference) at up to 300 miles an hour. The train would stop in Las Vegas, at the Ivanpah Valley Airport in Primm, NV; in Barstow, Ontario, and Anaheim in CA, in addition to possible stops at in Victorville, CA, and at LA's Union Station. Now, you've probably heard of most of those, except for Primm--right now an unicorporated community of about 500. Why would they , apart from connections to an airport that won't be built for nearly a decade. I'll tell you why--TO SPUR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

Now, I'm not always in favor of development, especially when historic preservation is an issue, but sensible devolpment (meaning built-to-last and environmentally-friendly) is what we need to get us out of this recession. This project would create much-needed jobs in two of the worse-off of these United States--It was recently reported that California's unemployment is at 10.1%, and Nevada continues to have one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. And infrastructure investmest spurs that kind of the devolpment--look at what's been done on Del Mar Blvd and the Paseo Colorado in Pasadena thanks to the Gold Line, and look at what's happening in the Arts District lofts by the Gold Line extension. The same thing could happen in Primm, in Anaheim, or even in Barstow.

Oh, and one more thing:

RIP LA Times California section

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