Reid recommends maglev funds for road projects

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fulfilled a promise Wednesday to redirect to major highway projects the $45 million originally set aside to build a magnetic levitation train that would ultimately ferry passengers between the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas.

Reid included the reallocation in a jobs bill, telling President Obama that crews in this struggling state could be put back to work immediately. Reid recommended that the funding go to the Nevada Department of Transportation to widen the McCarran International Airport connector road.

Reid, originally a proponent of the maglev train, switched alliances to the steel-wheeled, Victorville-bound DesertXPress project after growing frustrated with the maglev's slow progress.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Reid said he has spoken to representatives of the state transportation division as well as government entities within Clark County and they all agreed on the reallocation of the funding.

"We agreed that redirecting the funds from maglev to NDOT, with the intent that the money be applied to widening the airport connector at McCarran and 215, will have the biggest immediate impact for job creation and relief from traffic congestion," Reid said. "I urge the governor to put these funds to work immediately to protect Nevadans' jobs and ensure the completion of a project that will result in reduced congestion for a faster, safer commute."

Gov. Jim Gibbons, chairman of the state transportation department and maglev supporter, has strongly opposed Reid's idea to redirect the funding.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at or 702-387-2904.