The Register published an AP piece today on a group of entrepreneurs who are reviving the long ago cancelled train service between southern California and Las Vegas: Calif.-Vegas party train could hit tracks in 2013. Amtrak operated between LA and Las Vegas for years, but eliminated the run 15 years ago due to lack of ridership.
This venture will have its challenges. A $99 one-way trip to end up a state away without a car is a tough sell, but if it succeeds the train surely kill its competition, XpressWest, a badly planned and hopelessly expensive project laying new track to run exclusively and at “up to 150mph” between Vegas and Victorville and/or Palmdale where it will supposedly connect with the CAHSR, our own State High-Speed Rail system. XpressWest (formerly the DesertXpress) has the backing of Senator Harry Reid, so that’s probably all one needs to know to predict its demise, but hopefully not before it chews up Federal funding that Harry will be seeking for it.
The X Train venture also illustrates how USELESS Anaheim/OCTA‘s $184 million ARTIC station will be. It will not terminate at ARTIC, but at the more heavily used Fullerton train station. This connects it to ALL three Metrolink routes in Orange County running between LA Union Station and both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Like the existing and perfectly adequate Anaheim train station, ARTIC will be served by only one Metrolink route. Anaheim isn’t even the most heavily used of the dozen or so County train stations — it’s third busiest behind Fullerton and Irvine.
ARTIC is Mayor-for-Hire Curt Pringle‘s singular masterpiece of obfuscation, deceptive municipal finance and the pinnacle of his lobbying career. While an OCTA Board Member and around the time he assembled the Masters of the Universe, Pringle concocted this edifice to his Mayoral reign as a future cash funnel for his consulting business. While still Mayor, Pringle elaborately promised that private investors would be flocking to the Barn and throwing money at it, but years later such support has completely failed to develop and its construction and financing are fully on Orange County taxpayers.
ARTIC may also eliminate the free parking that Metrolink commuters have enjoyed for years at the north end of an easily accessible lot at Angel Stadium.
Just like the X Train isn’t coming to ARTIC, neither will the California High-Speed Rail project, the grandest and most expensive government transportation project in the United States. The necessary money simply doesn’t exist, and the Feds have no more committed to CAHSR. IF it’s finished, ARTIC will service no more trains or additional commuters than the existing station only hundreds of feet away.
The current OCTA Board has just been plain snowed by ex-Mayor Pringle, Anaheim Public Works and the Masters of the Universe regarding the complete waste of time and money (most of it from Measure M) this edifice to Curt Pringle will be. Let’s hope the new Board will take a fresh look at this debacle and put a stake in its heart.
This is the first of a series of research posts we’re planning to explain the unneeded ARTIC train station, and the $319 million streetcar system that the Anaheim City Council has just approved to move the Disney guests that won’t be coming by high-speed rail to the Barn.