Everyone is positively electrified by the news that a Chinese company is planning to build a high-speed train that will connect Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Californians will be able to bypass gridlock and airport hassles and make it to Vegas in just 80 minutes. It’s a thrilling idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s new.
Back in the eighties, a West German company tried to do the same thing. Popular Science wrote about their plans in 1989, reporting that trains traveling 310 miles per hour would travel between the cities in 75 minutes by the mid-1990s. But by 1992 funding ran out. Whoops.
Hopefully this time the project will manage to stay on the rails. The new agreement already has $100 million, and hopes to start construction September of next year. No word on cost, but the Verge reports that an earlier version of the project estimated costs at $6.3 billion. Quartz reports that number as more like $12.7 billion, and cites sources that think the project could be complete in 3 years. As for cost to consumers? They can expect to pay about $89 a ticket for the trip.
High-speed rail remains elusive in the United States, mostly because the United States is huge and we don’t have a robust incentive for spending tons of money on trains–cars and airplanes get most people everywhere they want to go. But there is a growing desire for better public transportation.
If this doesn’t work, there’s always the Hyperloop.