DesertXPress trainImage: DesertXPressDesertXpress, a planned high-speed rail project between the L.A. area and Las Vegas, was supposed to be built entirely with private funding. As it turns out, developers will have to take out a federal loan, and there’s some question as to whether the project can make enough money to pay it back.

But this is a rail line that will reduce the travel time between the L.A. area and Vegas by more than half, shrinking the 190-mile trip to less than an hour and a half. Pretty cool. That barely allows you time to sleep off your drunk on the way back from the strip, but at least you can travel safely and without giving yourself a heart attack! (Actually, Interstate 15, for which the rail line would be an alternative, is a high-traffic road that’s presumably not ONLY used by people going to and from gambling binges.)

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

There are some problems with the plan. For starters, the L.A. terminus is actually in an exurb called Victorville, and currently it’s a real schlep before you could even get on the train. It also cuts through the Mojave nature preserve, which … eeeesh. And groundbreaking has already been pushed back in favor of more planning (oh, and taking out federal loans). But if the government has to give money to something, better it be high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects than, say, NASCAR advertising.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.