California To Use Vice To Expand Its Bullet Trains Across The Golden State
Published July 6, 2012
By DONNA MABRY
California lawmakers have approved billions of dollars in construction financing to start building the nation's first high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. A portion of the financing, however, comes from two unexpected sources: gaming and prostitution.
California’s first bullet train may be the country’s first rolling Las Vegas complete with black jack, craps tables, slot machines – and legalized female escorts. Revenue raised from gaming and adult entertainment will be used to build additional track and train stations. There was even discussion in the Assembly of an entire “red light district” train in which prostitution would be the primary attraction.
“Nevada has Las Vegas, but we can do them one better,” said Governor Jerry Brown at a press conference immediately following passage of the bill. “California will have a rolling, living, traveling roadshow of gaming entertainment.” The governor quipped about the planned escorts on board: “Who knows my unmarried staff might soon get some needed relief from their own personal gridlock during our rides to Sacramento.”
The passage of the financing plan marked a major political victory for Governor Brown and President Barack Obama, who have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.
The bill authorises the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds to build an initial 130-mile stretch in the Central Valley. 20-percent of all cars will be devoted to gaming and will be prohibited to children under 18. Escorts will only be available to those passengers renting private compartments.
“This great bullet train network will be built bigger and better one wager and one lever pull at a time,” United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, applauding the legislative vote. “This is a creative way to solve our transportation challenges.”
Gaming and prostitution revenue will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers could not come up with a source of funds.
The first segment of the line will run from Madera to Bakersfield. The final cost of the completed project from Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $68 billion.
San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley areas, cheered the vote. “This is a courageous step forward for California’s future,” said Bay Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Jim Wandermann.
He likened it to the state water project that was first undertaken by Gov. Brown’s father, Governor Pat Brown, in the late 1950s. That massive network of dams, reservoirs and canals is still used today.
The bill approved on Friday authorizes the state to license private operators to run the traveling casinos.