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Calif. maglev seeks to bolster local support

(The following story was published in the 1-1-03 issue of the Victorville, Calif., Daily Press.)

VICTORVILLE - In an effort to boost local confidence in the magnetic levitation train talked about - and delayed - for decades, Maglev officials said this week that the train's construction will create an enormous 28,000 jobs.

The California-Nevada magnetic levitation (Maglev) super speed train project is proposed to run between Las Vegas and Anaheim with stops in Victorville and Barstow.

Construction, dependent in large part on a 2004 federal transportation bill, would start at Las Vegas and Anaheim simultaneously, eventually connecting those two, said Mike Rothschildcq, a Victorville city councilman and one of 16 members on the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commissioncq.

The 28,000 jobs that the speed commission is expecting would come from initial start-up construction jobs, said commission spokesman Tom Bradley Jr.

Recently, the Southern California Associated Governments endorsed another project using Maglev technology - a route that would run between Ontario International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport - over the Anaheim to Las Vegas corridor.

"SCAG is looking at a number of potential Maglev corridors," said Jeff Lustgarten, SCAG spokesman. SCAG, he said, ran evaluations on each route, based on "financial viability to build and highest ridership rate."

That route was chosen because it would serve more as a commuter line than a train for tourists, like the Anaheim to Las Vegas line.

Despite years of delays, Rothschild and Barstow Mayor Lawrence Dale were optimistic in a statement released by the speed commission.

"Maglev is an instrument to carry us into the 21st century and beyond. If we don't work together and make it happen, we'll be shortchanging future generations," Rothschild said.

Referring to Barstow as a "crossroads of opportunity," Dale said Maglev will provide Barstow with a welcome economic boost. He noted that Barstow will have the project's first station as passengers ride south from Las Vegas.

Friday, January 3, 2003

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