OK

Boy, the Republicans are really worked up over the high speed rail money in the jobs bill, given that billions appear headed toward construction of 300 mph magnetic levitation train service between Las Vegas and Disneyland and other Southern California destinations, a project long supported by Harry Reid. Pork, they shout, with great beating of chests and gnashing of teeth. The ever outspokenly ignorent William Kristol contributes this remark to the wingnut blather:

That's the kind of policymaking the new Obama administration has embraced in its signature legislative proposal: a congressional process as unseemly as ever; an emergency bill that barely addresses the emergency; a "stimulus" bill short on stimulus (is that magnetic-levitation rail line "shovel-ready"?).

Yes, Bill, the project is shovel ready.

Just about the last thing that happens for a giant public works program before those shovels actually dig in is the environmental impact study. You really can't do a proper study until you know in great detail how the project will be constructed and operated. According to the Desert Dispatch of Barstow, California, a community standing to gain a lot of jobs from the magnetic levitation train project, the plan Harry Reid favors is the closest to shovel ready of any intercity high speed transit proposal in the country:

For nearly two decades, the main plan in the works was the futuristic MagLev train that would zip riders between Sin City and the Magic Kingdom in well under two hours, hurtling across the wide-open desert at up to 300 mph.

Last summer, the project got funding of 45 million for the environmental impact study. That money was

the largest cash infusion in the project's nearly 20-year history. It will pay for environmental studies for the first leg of the project.

The money had been delayed by a drafting error in Congress' 2005 highway bill, which was corrected along with some other changes by the legislation signed Friday by Bush. The delay had allowed a competing and cheaper diesel-electric plan to emerge as an alternative, but with the money now freed up supporters hope to move forward with the MagLev plan.

As the Desert Dispatch noted a year ago:

Over the past several decades, a number of MagLev proposals in this country have never moved beyond the planning phase.

I remember one such failed effort that had its high water mark at the end of Ann Richards time as Texas Governor, then died aborning from the indifference of new Governor George W. Bush and vigorous, well-funded lobbying against it by Southwest Airlines. At the high point in 1992:

The biggest project in size can be found in Texas where the first all-new intercity railroad ever constructed in the United States exclusively for passenger service has an official green light.

The state's High Speed Rail Authority granted a 50-year franchise on Jan. 31 to the Texas High Speed Rail Corp., which will build high speed lines linking Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

The project eventually went nowhere as Bush cronies and other pay-to-players coopted state largesse and infrastructure projects suffered.

But now, lo and behold, what do we have but change? How'd that happen? Now the federal government is jumping into highspeed, intercity, magnetic levitation train service by dramatically improving the California-Nevada MagLev project's federal funding to billions, up from tens of millions.

That this should be a bad idea, of course, is just one of many dishonest and deceptive Republican talking points. The truth is that the project will employ thousands of people for years starting almost immediately after it gets the full green light. The Anaheim-Las Vegas MagLev represents the best kind of shovel ready project, offering widespread impact, rapid implementation and serving newly emphasized policy interests in control of greenhouse gases, green technologies, transportation infrastructure improvements, science and technological innovation.

There is no downside to this project, so, of course, mindless Republican blatherers hate it.

And you know what, Mr. Kristol (I don't know you well enough to call you Bill, and don't want to), it took me a bit of time to put this essay together, but only about two minutes using The Google on the Internets to find the answer to your inexcusably ignorent question and argument. Yes sir, the project is shovel ready. And so is your dinosaur thinking.

Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 12:16 PM PST.

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