Vegas Bullet Train Bets Big on Taxpayer $$$

Why should all Americans be concerned about a privately built high-speed train shuttling ludomaniacs and dipsomaniacs between Palmdale, California and Las Vegas, Nevada?

The Xpress train project isn't even part of the $5.8 billion bond issue California's state senate narrowly approved last month to pay for a Madera-to-Fresno leg of the Golden State's proposed, troubled high-speed railroad network. So why fear the Xpress? 

Because the train's builder and local politicians are trying to get America to lend them the money. XpressWest chief operating officer Andrew Mack intends to borrow $5.5 billion from Uncle Sam to pay for the train, which as I noted a while back is one of three proposals for train service between Sin City and the Antelope Valley. Scott Shackford explained the business plan in more detail in June. 

In a new study [pdf] for the Reason Foundation, Wendell Cox estimates the probability that this loan, from a Federal Railway Administration program called Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing, will go bad: 

There appears to be little or no prospect for the Victorville to Las Vegas train to generate sufficient fares and commercial revenues to repay a federal loan of between $5.5 billion and $6.5 billion. The likely default would  represent a loss to taxpayers. Moreover, this could lead to further taxpayer losses, at any or all of the federal, state or local levels, as political pressure is placed upon governments to operate (and perhaps even complete construction of) the system at taxpayer expense.

That would be  taxpayers all over the U.S.A. – not only in California – who would end up paying for this default.

By contrast, the feds are only on the hook for around $2 billion or $3 billion, so far, on the actual California high speed rail network. This Federal grant will be disbursed despite the California High Speed Rail Authority's having missed its deadline to break ground on an actual train by September 2012. (The first construction package is still out for proposals and construction is now optimistically penciled in for early 2013.)

But at least the official bullet train's exorbitant overall cost and massive burn rate will be in theory borne mostly by Californians. The Victorville/Vegas line on the other hand will involve the largest loan ever provided by the the RRIF program, which up to this point has been mercifully stingy with its $35 billion in lending authority. And for the scheme to work, the federal loan would have to be subordinated to other investor/cronies, as Cox explains: 

In light of the financial concerns outlined below, unsubordinated federal debt could be a serious barrier to private investment. At the same time, it may not be possible to subordinate the federal interest, given the negative and intense political reaction to subordination of taxpayer interests in the recent Solyndra failure.

I'm not sanguine that fury over Solyndra would cause more scrupuluosness about putting taxpayers at the back of the line in another deal. In any case, during the bankruptcy the details of these deals always get reworked in smoke-filled rooms, as God intended. Cox again: 

International research shows high-speed rail projects have been plagued by optimistic ridership and revenue forecasts, financial losses and capital cost overruns. XpressWest expects to draw significant numbers of riders from throughout the Los Angeles Basin and the Inland Empire. There is no precedent for large numbers of people driving one-third of the way to access a train or air service for the remaining two-thirds of such a short trip (up to 300 miles away). Thus, the very existence of much of the XpressWest market is speculative and the actual ridership could be a mere fraction of the forecast.

The likelihood of the Xpress happening at all seems pretty low, but it does shed some light on Southern California governance. Our old friend Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich is all over the plan, as the Long Beach Press Telegram's Christina Villacorte explains

The idea is ambitious enough, but...Antonovich literally wants to take it farther.

He is envisioning a 50-mile connection from Palmdale to Victorville via a high-speed train, that could be run by Metrolink, XpressWest or other providers, that would link up with existing rail lines throughout Southern California.

"It would have to be a public-private partnership," he said. "The goal is to have a seamless operation."

It would also connect at Palmdale with the state's massive $68 billion California High-Speed Rail network, still in the planning stages, that would link Los Angeles and San Francisco, and eventually include Sacramento and San Diego.

Cox's Reason study got picked up by the Inland Empire Daily Bulletin, where reporter Andrew Edwards explains that XpressWest had no comment because "no one at the Las Vegas-based firm has yet to see the report before its publication." 

One other recent High-Speed folly: The "Why not follow The 5?" question got another airing when the L.A. Times reported that the rail authority had rejected an apparently straightforward construction offer from France's SNCF and left its business with New York-based Parsons Brinkerhoff. Among the attractions of SNCF's plan was its simplicity, in following the route already created by Interstate 5, rather than the remote rural obstacle course that is now planned. How the bullet train (which most media still refer to as a proposed train to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco though in fact it does not come near either city) ended up in such a pretzel, with its first leg starting in a place nobody wants it and nobody will ride it, is a tale of woe only local, state and federal cooperation could have produced. 

Whether you're taking the Xpress, the X Train or even the Z Train, when you get to Vegas tell 'em Telly sent ya: 

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  • Aresen||

    I want High Speed Zeppelins!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Ooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me!

  • rts||

    No ticket.

    (Worst green-screen composite ever at the end of that scene).

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    If you follow the "as I noted a while back" link you'll find another link to a Ben Bova article claiming supersonic dirigibles are right around the corner.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think I've seen enough cartoons to know all you have to do is poke a hole in the back to make it go faster.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Two words:

    Acme Rockets

  • Aresen||

    OK.

    How about a Trans-Atlantic Tunnel:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027131/

    Of course, it would have to be a high-speed train.

  • Aresen||

    Or a gravity train:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_train

    (Only 42.2 minutes between any two points on Earth.)

  • RBS||

    A grimly realistic story
  • ||

    "We don't normally drink on the bridge."

    "And I don't normally fly on the Hindenburg 2.0."

  • RBS||

    " For the last time, the Excelsior is filled with non-flamable helium! "

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "What about that are you still not getting, exactly?"

    "Well obviously the core concept, Lana."

  • Randian||

    "Yeah, what does a blimp do, Pam?"

    "Uhh, kick your skinny ass?"
  • Aresen||

    Helium will 'burn'.

    At 10^8 K.

    But I am sure that detail would never stop a Hollywood Director.

  • T||

    Dude, anything will burn at 10^8 K. That's not real helpful.

  • Aresen||

    My point was more that Hollywood and scientific accuracy are antipodal.

    Any scientifically accurate fact in a Hollywood movie is obliterated by the requirement that a large explosion must be generated (or threatened).

  • RBS||

    I don't think Archer qualifies as a Hollywood movie filled with giant explosions. You're a blast at parties aren't you?

  • Voros McCracken||

    Everything except my ex's icy icy heart.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So we're all out of our comfort zone.

  • ||

    DANGER ZONE

  • ||

    "The more they over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon.

  • ||

    Come, come, FoE. Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant!

  • ||

    There's your bomber right there, Beardsly McTurbanhead.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Kirovs are some nasty beasts in C*squirrel*C:RA2.

  • The Hammer||

    Pretty much the only way to win the last mission is to build as many as you can before your base is destroyed.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    For the Soviet mission the best thing to do was get 3-4 quickly and have them force bomb a couple strategic places on the ground. The computer just keeps sending troops through and your Kirovs get upgraded, plus only tanks get through to attack your base (and they're damaged).

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Obama said: 'During a speech a few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way: ‘You can't drive a car with a windmill on it.' 'That's what he said about wind power. I wonder if he actually tried that.'"

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "You can't drive a car with a windmill on it."

    Not too bad an attempt at humor for the Romneybot.

  • ||

    People never seem to ask why these projects can't get private funding.

    Why is it that the *government* needs to finance these trains.
    If this a worthwhile project, they should be able to get investment banks and venture capitalists to give them money to build it.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Because ROADZ and TRAINZZ and MORE ROADZ and SOMALIA.

    That is why.

  • Mike M.||

    Don't worry, it's only a "loan". We'll get paid back, it's a promise!

  • ||

    Hey Mike, still not at FreeRepublic, you fucking pathetic TEAM RED piece of shit?

  • Mike M.||

    Oooooh, are you going to stalk me in every single thread I post in now? Just what I've always wanted: my own personal cyberstalker who thinks that he's tough, funny, clever, and can read minds.

    Don't you think that's going to get boring quickly though for everyone else here? Other than your audience of one or two that is?

  • ||

    It's not boring for me, Mikey. Why don't you fuck off and deprive me of the pleasure? I'm sure your pathetic shitbag TEAM RED ass will be sorely missed.

  • Mike M.||

    By the way, if you're telling the truth and you're really a software engineer, how in the world do you work and spend all day here reading minds and cracking all your stupid jokes at the same time? You must be the absolute worst engineer at... whoever it is you work for.

  • ||

    I don't know, fellow goldbricker. Are you actually fucking stupid enough to use posting a bunch--as you yourself are currently doing--as some sort of insult?!?

    Of course you are. Holy shit you're a fucking moron. Post again; I need to see if you can top your own stupidity once again. I bet you can.

  • Hyperion||

    I have to step in here, in Epi's defense on this. I am pretty convinced that he is software guy, since I am, and we have discussed this before. Also, most software engineers don't stand on a line making widgets and punch a clock. You get a project, you get the work completed in a time frame that is acceptable to your clients. Pretty flexible.

  • ||

    Actually, Hyperion, while you are correct about projects and not punching a clock, I also work with colossal datasets (we're talking terabyte databases here), and I frequently have to run queries than can take minutes to hours to complete, and while I'm waiting, I often can't do anything else. On top of that we have terrible table contention here, and sometimes you have something you need to run and you just cannot because something with a higher priority is running and blocking you. So: you wait.

  • Hyperion||

    Of course I understand all of that, Epi. And also, there are times that I really don't have anything to do, you know, because I don't just sit around on my ass and not get things done. Sometimes there are days where I am in the requirements collection phase of a new feature that the client wants, and I am waiting on something from someone else. Again, I go back to, we aren't fucking assembly line workers.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, I actually believe him on this.

    I just hope for the sake of whoever he works for that he's a LOT better at engineering than he is at making jokes and reading minds. It would be darn near impossible for him to be worse.

  • ||

    Oh noes, the Komedy Kritik says I'm not funny!

    Of course, you're as tedious as a heart attack, Mikey, so I'm sure glad you schooled me.

    Fuck. Off.

  • gulo gulo||

    you're as tedious as a heart attack

    What the fuck does that even mean?

  • Hyperion||

    He's pretty damn funny at times, IMHO. But everyone is entitled to their own.

    I don't know anything about the history of this tiff between you 2, and I'm not trying to get in on it.

  • Mike M.||

    I don't know anything about the history of this tiff between you 2, and I'm not trying to get in on it.

    I think it's mostly that he has decided that I don't sufficiently meet his self-imposed libertarian litmus test, and I have therefore gotten myself put on his personal Enemies' List.

  • Hyperion||

    Then just consider yourself lucky that you didn't get the attention of sarcasmic instead, because then you would have to live forever with a nickname like 'Red Tony', (:

  • Mike M.||

    Then just consider yourself lucky that you didn't get the attention of sarcasmic instead, because then you would have to live forever with a nickname like 'Red Tony', (:

    I like sarcasmic, even if his taste in women is a little questionable at times. :)

  • gulo gulo||

    I don't know anything about the history of this tiff between you 2

    Not much to know that you don't see here, Mike said something Episiarch didn't like, Episiarch went batshit and spent the day following him around trolling him.

  • Hyperion||

    There seems to be an outbreak of this batshit thing here lately, lol

  • ||

    Did you know more murders are committed at 92 degrees Fahrenheit that any other temperature? I read an article once. At lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92, it's too hot to move. But just 92, people get irritable!

  • Christina||

    Back when I was around nine or ten I asked my dad why passenger trains were more or less dead. His dad had been a railroad big-wig and his brother worked for the railroad too. He said they were killed by unions and regulations.

    Years later, I was taking American Economic History and during our section on the railroads I went up to my prof after class and asked the same question. His response: unions and regulations.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    So...it was really RAT FUCKING TEABAGGER RETHUGLIGAN KOCHPORASHUNSZ then. Right?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Back when I was around nine or ten I asked my dad why passenger trains were more or less dead."

    I asked my Dad the same question. He said it's because Americans liked to be independent.

  • Paul.||

    Capitalists lack long term vision. So with no immediate profit, nothing like this will ever get built. Only people of Jerry Brown's economic acumen can see the future. Plus all that property acquisition gets messy. Eminent Domain makes property buying so much easier and cheaper when you can just take it from the owners at bargain basement prices.

  • The Hammer||

    I know this is sarcasm because of the source, but damn, it's way too close to shit that HuffPo commenters say completely seriously on a regular basis.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    People never seem to ask why these projects can't get private funding.

    Private funding is possible, but even the railroads in the late 1800s benefitted from sweetheart government land and right-of-way deals, and government incentives to finish the rail lines quicker. Railroad magnates were some of the biggest crony capitalists around.

    Logisitically speaking, though, what they want to do now is pretty much impossible at the price and ridership levels they are promising unless they completely destroy the interstate system. 100 years ago, it was possible to build a rail network of this type on the scale they are envisioning, at a price that was fairly close to what was planned.

    But that was in country with a LOT less people, much less infrastructure, no litigatory environmentalist movement, a lower cost of living, a smaller government, and a culture of manifest destiny that makes even todays rah-rah patriotism look tame by comparison. Furthermore, why would most people bother to take a train ride that would likely take longer to get from Point A to Point B than if they simply drove, unless the government destroyed the means that made the latter more convenient?

  • Spoonman.||

    There is no precedent for large numbers of people driving one-third of the way to access a train or air service for the remaining two-thirds of such a short trip (up to 300 miles away).

    This is why I'm sure the plan for high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas to fail. For some reason College Station is mentioned as an intermediate stop, so...I'm envisioning having to drive from wherever you are in Houston to Cypress, then arriving in, say, Arlington.

    So if you live in Baytown and want to go to McKinney you've got a good hour of driving on either side of that, at which point you're pretty close to the time it takes just to drive in the first place.

  • The Hammer||

    WTF? I have my issues with my birth state, but I thought they were at least immune to this stupidity. Is this really a 'plan,' or is it just some Austin hippy's pipe-dream?

  • Spoonman.||

    More of the second. Supposedly to be done without government funding, ha-ha.

  • RBS||

    I used to date a girl from Houston. Does anyone actually use the light rail thing or is it just to get in the way of traffic?

  • ||

    The light rail is retarded. Some people use it as something to crash their cars into.

  • RBS||

    Yeah, my one experience with it was "holy shit why is there a train coming towards me!?"

  • ||

    I had that experience in San Jose. "Who the fuck put that train in between the lanes????"

  • Brett L||

    It kills drunk pedestrians, too. Don't sell it short.

  • Spoonman.||

    I used it once.

    It's not awful, but having at street level makes it a bit of a death machine, as Apatheist and Brett noted.

  • ||

    I've used it a few times too, especially when I was at Rice but it seriously doesn't go anywhere useful.

  • Hyperion||

    I've never used the light rail here in Balmer before, because well, people told me not to use it. I just accepted that as good advice and left it at that. Metro is good though.

  • Spoonman.||

    Yeah, I used it to go have lunch with my wife downtown once when I was in grad school there. It was very full in the middle of the day, but nobody checked tickets.

  • ||

    It will also fail because who wants to go to Dallas?

    Also, pretty much all Texas cities are extremely inconvenient to get around without a car. What are you going to do once you arrive?

  • Brett L||

    Its Dallas, so the correct answer is: nothing fun.

  • R C Dean||

    Buy a car?

  • RBS||

    Ah, so it also as an economic stimulus component.

  • Spoonman.||

    Maybe it's supposed to tie into the DART Rail system at Rainbow Puppy Junction.

    That way you can go to Plano, because...clearly you'll have things to do there.

  • Brett L||

    I dated a girl from Plano one summer in college. Fuck that place. Also, fuck having to drive to the next town over to get a hotel room to screw in because of a couple of under 21 dope fiends ODing and the wise Plano town-fathers solving that problem by making renting a hotel room a 21 and up proposition.

  • Spoonman.||

    When I was a kid there was one year where kids from Plano seemed to be ODing on heroin once a week.

  • Christina||

    I remember reading a feature about that in Rolling Stone. The gist of it was that the stuff was marketed under another name, so the kids didn't even know they were doing heroin.

  • Christina||

    I have a confession to make. My sister both lives in Plano and works for DART in marketing.

  • Spoonman.||

    In...Marketing? What the fuck?

    "Those Bright-Ass Yellow Vehicles You See All Over Town? You Can Ride On Them!"

  • BakedPenguin||

    The same thing with the proposed Orlando - Tampa HSR. These are two very spread out cities. Have fun negotiating the bus lines if you can't afford a cab or a rental car.

  • The Hammer||

    Take a cab to Ft. Worth?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    chief operating officer Andrew Mack intends to borrow $5.5 billion from Uncle Sam to pay for the train...the feds are only on the hook for around $2 billion or $3 billion, so far...$35 billion in lending authority... the state's massive $68 billion California High-Speed Rail network, still in the planning stages

    A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

    Jesus Fucking AntiChrist that's a shitload of coin for choo choos. Fuck California.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

    Jesus Fucking AntiChrist that's a shitload of coin for choo choos. Fuck California."

    Telling you...it's a plan to make it so expensive to drive and live in the burbs that economic integration is achieved. In other words, everyone lives in their flat and takes the choo choo to work, and occasionally out to the dacha, comrade.

  • SugarFree||

    Antelope Valley? You mean the home of the world's largest open-pit borax mine is getting a bullet train to Vegas? Exciting!

  • Lord Humungus||

    what, miners don't like to gamble? or Gambol? What kind of heartless beast are you?

  • ||

    Borax likes to gamble too.

  • Hyperion||

    Then maybe we have to build the train, so there won't be another Borax rebellion.

  • BarryD||

    Kazakhstan prostitutes
    cleanest in the region!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Enough of your Borax, poindexter! We need action!

  • ||

    Take that, you lousy dimension!

  • Old Mexican||

    XpressWest chief operating officer Andrew Mack intends to borrow $5.5 billion from Uncle Sam to pay for the train

    Pardon me, boy
    Is that the California choo choo?
    Track twenty-nine
    Boy, you can gimme a shine
    I can afford
    To board a California choo choo
    I've got my fare
    Paid by the taxpayer!

  • Old Mexican||

    There appears to be little or no prospect for the Victorville to Las Vegas train to generate sufficient fares and commercial revenues to repay a federal loan of between $5.5 billion and $6.5 billion.

    Speaking of the fact that Victorville is a shithole in the middle of the desert, there is a little diner in the downtown area that servers the best porterhouse in the West.

  • Hyperion||

    Meh, another boring bullet train thread? And just earlier there was a thread where Epi was engaged in a verbal death match with some guy over whether Tonio is the DC shooter, or not. And I missed it.

    And fried chicken.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Mmmmmm! Crispy, delicious fried chicken.

  • mr simple||

  • ||

    Everyone knows the DC shooter was Hugh, dude. Just look at that picture.

  • Hyperion||

    Me's is afraid to looks....

  • Brandybuck||

    Why the hell start with the Madera to Fresno line? Not only does the government have no business building bullet trains, it doesn't even have the enough smarts to build one intelligently. The number of passengers that would use a train from Madera to Fresno wouldn't be able to pay for the line. At the minimum you would start with a Los Angeles to Bakersfield run. Or San Francisco to San Jose.

    This isn't a game of Railroad Tycoontm;! Sheesh.

  • Brandybuck||

    Fucking HTML entities, how do they work?

  • Hyperion||

    You mean tags? What are you trying to do, make a link?

  • ||

    Do you mean HTML elements?

  • ||

    Well, this is great. If the ionization-rate is constant for all HTML entities, we can really bust some heads... in a web design sense, of course.

  • Hyperion||

    I think elements, or tags is what Brandybuck meant. Entities, that sounds like Object Oriented Database stuff, which is no funs at all.

  • mnarayan||

    Given the aborted tm symbol, I'm guessing he meant entities.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yes I mean entities. The new HnR doesn't seem to allow them.

  • Beefkins||

    It's not that they aren't allowed, it's that the ampersand squirrels ate them all.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, for starters, you apparently have to go pretty far west to find any local governments willing to get involved in financial suicide projects. But you would think that maybe Seattle to SF or something more ambitious and worthwhile...

  • ||

    Oh, Seattle is working on one as we speak.

  • Sevo||

    "But you would think that maybe Seattle to SF or something more ambitious and worthwhile.."
    In SF, we're starting on our own 'medium dig'. But not to worry, SF will screw it up even more than Boston did.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "The number of passengers that would use a train from Madera to Fresno wouldn't be able to pay for the line"

    Since when is being unable to pay for something a problem?

  • ChrisO||

    Having recently seen the extremely hungover state of some Angelenos getting ready to drive back from LVNV to LaLa Land on a Sunday morning, I can understand the appeal of a LA-LV high-speed line. But if the market is there, then private funding should be too. And last I checked, most LA high rollers do not live anywhere near Palmdale or Victorville--though a few too many bad hands of blackjack might consign them there...

  • Drake||

    The traffic from LA to Vegas on Friday night is pretty bad. Bumper to bumper in the middle of nowhere.

    It is surprising that a private business can't build and operate a railway between the 2 cities. (Not that I've put a lot of thought into it). I am absolutely certain that any government in such a project will make it a boondoggle drain of tax dollars.

  • ChrisO||

    The mountains north of San Bernardino would make it a lot more expensive.

    I wonder if the existing rail infrastructure would support a "party train" to LV? That would be a much more cost-effective way of doing it, rather than building a high-speed line that only shaves an hour or two off the trip.

  • Drake||

    I lived in Las Vegas for a year and a half. I couldn't find a train station there if my life depended on it. I don't recall even seeing train tracks.

    ------------------
    An internet search tells me that train service to Las Vegas was cancelled 15 years ago. I'm assuming it was due to lack of business. I'm also assuming there are absolutely no existing rails or right-of-ways to build on.

    http://www.trainweb.org/usarail/lasvegasnv.htm

  • RBS||

    We haven't had a train run through my home town in at least 30 years. There are still tracks and crossings though and school buses stop at all of them.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Las Vegas was only a long distance Amtrak stop three times a week. Not real convenient for weekend travel from LA to LV. The existing tracks it ran on are now freight only.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I like the sound of party-trains. I'd do those for a lot of travel.

  • Christina||

    There's no cheap bus service that runs between the cities? There is a plethora of such buses that go from DC to NYC.

    Shit, they could build express lanes on the highway and still be like one-squintillionth of the cost of a bullet train.

    Also, they're proposing to build a high-speed line in one of the hottest areas of the country. Do they not know that rails get squishy in the heat and force the trains to slow down?

  • RBS||

    No libertarian worth his monocle would be caught dead riding the bus.

  • Christina||

    Dude, if people made business decisions based on what libertarians do, they won't be in business for long. There's what? 50 of us?

  • Sevo||

    65, easy.

  • Beefkins||

    66! Recent convert here.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Welcome to the lonely depressing club.

  • T||

    I dunno. Some guy has a business making custom fezzes, and it seems like that'd be a niche market.

  • Brandybuck||

    The guy with the monocle repair shop is still in business.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Shit, they could build express lanes on the highway and still be like one-squintillionth of the cost of a bullet train.

    I keep envisioning "superhighways" that are to regular highways what highways are to roads. Like another 2 lanes that have a slightly higher speed limit, but most importantly only exits back to the regular highway every 5-10 regular exits. You'd bypass all the slowdown with exits you don't care about.

  • Spoonman.||

    That would be awesome. Two lanes that start at The Woodlands and don't let you off until Hutchins.

  • Brett L||

    Isn't that the Hardy Toll road?

  • Spoonman.||

    Hutchins is in Dallas County. But the Hardy Toll Road is great.

    It has exits, but only to place people who can't afford to drive on the Hardy Toll Road live.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Had to Google it, but that was longer than I was thinking. I'm talking more like when you pass an exit you commit to staying on for the next 15 miles. Not so much 200 miles.

  • Ted S.||

    Up here in the boonie parts of New York, it's not uncommon to have exits almost 15 miles apart, or more.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I keep envisioning 'superhighways'"

    Obviously you hate mother Gaia

  • ||

    Why the fuck didn't you capitalize "Mother"? Are you a heretic? A REPUBLICAN?!

    Holy shit! SEND SWAT!

  • Hyperion||

    Obviously, A DENIER!

  • Beefkins||

    I keep envisioning superhighways as having capes.

  • ChrisO||

    The LA folks who weekend in Vegas aren't taking the bus, trust me on that.

    The ultimate problem with any LA-LV line is that the LA person has to drive somewhere to catch the train, thus making it relatively inconvenient and not much better than driving.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The ultimate problem with any LA-LV line is that the LA person has to drive somewhere to catch the train,

    Duh, just build trains to everyone's town. Then they can walk to that station, take that train to the big one, and then take that to LV. Cheap and quick and easy to maintain.

  • Hyperion||

    Not too sure I want to be riding that when some Angeleno throws up at 300mph.

  • ChrisO||

    Shouldn't be a problem, as long as you too are going 300mph. If not, you probably have bigger problems than speeding vomit.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I wonder if they'll let me take my hot dog cart on the bullet train

  • ChrisO||

    Depends on the zoning.

  • ||

    Not if Mayor Kurt Dickstroke's mayor of the train.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Best place to stay in vegas for a group of 5-6 guys in their early 30s? not a bachelor party. college friends who are mostly married with kids with permission slips.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    If you're just looking for a place to lay your head before you go to the Strip (or strip clubs), the Orleans is usually pretty cheap and has a surprising amount of amenities (movie theater, good food court, decent buffet, wifi in the coffee shop, a shuttle to the Strip) for an off-Strip hotel. The rooms are a bit spartan for a Vegas hotel and need to be updated, but I haven't had any service issues during my stays there.

  • ||

    The Luxor is pretty cheap, is at the bottom of the strip, and has its own restaurants, gambling, pools, bars, and whatnot.

  • Randian||

    Second the Luxor. Although last I was there they were getting rid of the Egyptian motif.

    Yeah, ponder that.

  • ||

    what the fuck is this i dont even

  • ||

    That's retarded.

  • ||

    The nearest brothel.

  • ||

    Isn't the nearest (legal) brothel about an hour and a half outside Vegas, since Clark county isn't one of the counties where it's legal?

  • ||

  • Spoonman.||

    ...It has a menu?

    Weird.

    America!

  • ||

    http://www.sherisranch.com/directions.aspx

    Take lots of photos and don't forget to share them upon your return.

  • RBS||

    Even strip clubs have buffets.

  • ||

    The Negotiation Process:

    Patrons must discuss prices with their chosen courtesan in the confines of her Sheri’s Ranch bedroom, and it’s always prudent to be cordial and respectful. The best scenario is selecting a lady to discuss the details in a friendly manner acknowledging that you’re attracted to her; if a compromise can’t be reached, it’s time to thank your courtesan for her time but decline the offer and say that you wish to return to the bar. Then talk with another lady until you’re satisfied.

    So you haggle, then bang. Sounds like a fucking blast.

  • ||

    What coul

  • ||

    *What couk

  • ||

    *What could be more libertarian than that?

    And what the fuck's wrong with the squirrels today?

  • R C Dean||

    Haggle and Bang would be an excellent name for a brothel.

  • NoVAHockey||

    thanks -- i'll look into the luxor and orleans. and it's good to know there are other options as well

  • ||

    Other options depend on what your wives included in those permission slips, if you know what I mean.

  • NoVAHockey||

    pretty sure "fuck prostitute" is right out. i'll verify at dinner tonight.

  • ||

    How about just doing a line of coke off a prostitute's ass?

  • NoVAHockey||

    i think that's covered under "have fun"

  • ||

    Holy shit. Awesome wife is awesome.

    http://s9.postimage.org/ij2t3r....._Vegas.jpg

  • ||

    "But they're upstanding prostitutes with Catholic upbringings, honey."

  • Hyperion||

    Then why would you go to Vegas? I don't get it. There are better places where you can walk down the street with a beer.

  • Hyperion||

    If I go to Vegas alone, or Amsterdam, especially latter, I am making sure that wifey's permission slip is just a bunch of blank lines that I fill in myself later.

  • NoTalentAssclown||

    The Flamingo has clean rooms, is in a good location on the Strip, and usually relatively cheap. Excalibur also works for me

  • NebulousFocus||

    The Flamingo is usually pretty cheap and located right in the middle of the strip.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Should have scrolled down before posting... oh well, +1 to NoTalentAssclown

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    NEWSFLASH: Holland, MI assholes decide to let kid sell hotdogs after all - refrain from shooting family dog.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/gran.....og_ve.html

  • ||

    Not anywhere near mother-fucking good enough. These shitstains shouldn't have the power to allow or disallow anything of the sort. He should just be able to do it.

    Fuck Kurt Dickstroke and his shitty government.

  • sarcasmic||

    You want to allow economic activity without first getting permission from your masters?

    What are you? An anarchist?

  • ||

    No, I just hate homosexual black grandmothers. Or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who doesn't?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    From the comments:

    "Good--now the haters can stop focusing on this cartoon of the overall issue and start focusing on the REAL reasons his family's assistance has been cut under republican leadership.

    Yeah, I'll hold my breath on that one. I have a feeling the Mack Center and all the other hack outlets will stop writing about this story once the kid goes out there and starts selling hot dogs and his family still remains homeless and in need of assistance.

    Of course they will"

  • johnl||

    Bolt the door. Tim Cavanaugh is in and writing about trains.

  • johnl||

    What is the far left Bus Riders' Union's plan to get people to Vegas and back?

  • ||

    It's great to know I'm not the only one who thinks trains can eat shit and drop back into the dustbin of history.

    I have a car. I like my car. I want to get places by using my car. I don't want your fucking dollar-sink train lines, you fucking appropriators.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    ^^THIS

    I refuse to be herded onto a train just because I paid for part of it.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I grew up in the country, so cars were the only option (even biking was out because the distances were so far). I'm so used to having the freedom of a car I get really uncomfortable when I'm using transportation I'm not in control of (even if the schedule leaves me plenty of cushion).

  • ||

    That's one of the main points in the matter. I want to be in control of where I go and how I get there. I'm a free man, and I wish for control of my own travel.

    In most places I've lived, public transportation or bikes were an option. I never gave a shit, because I absolutely prefer driving a personal automobile above all else.

    This drive to force people to use PT is fucking infuriating. How many times must we repeat "we don't want your shitty trains" before these assholes get the message?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I've got no issue with biking because I am still in control. Unfortunately it's not practical for most travel, even though it's better for me and my wallet.

    I just can't do buses or trains because I'm super nervous the whole time. What if I have to leave work early for some reason?

  • ||

    That we have to explain ourselves to these asswipes is just mind-numbingly insane. I drive instead of biking or using a train because I fucking want to, thank you very much, and it's none of your business.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's pretty much my response to "Why do you need to own a gun".

  • wareagle||

    did the airlines stop flying from SoCal to Vegas? Or did the roadways collapse? It has to be one or the other because surely no one would think spending this sort of money on a project that is not needed would be a good idea. Would they?

  • ||

    Only millions of people, pal. Nothing to worry about.

    /Slits wrists.

  • Rich||

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Change the name to SolarWindCommuter and Obama would force them to take taxpayer "loan funding" in return for a healthy kickback to his 2012 campaign.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    If highways and airports were fully privatized and unsubsidized, and all transportation business was deregulated, I think major capital projects like the Vegas proposal have a possibility of being profitable with private funding. XpressWest is up against a highly skewed and centrally planned transportation market.

  • Atlanta Home Inspections||

    This will be great for Vegas and California residents. I can't wait until this is built. Hopefully, it will pass.

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