Super-fast trains. -- $8 billion (or 1 percent) of the bill is earmarked for high-speed rail projects, including Nevada Senator Harry Reid's pet project, an Anaheim-to-Las Vegas line powered by magnetic levitation. Aichi, Japan and Shanghai, China already have these kinds of super-fast trains. (An Anaheim-to-San Francisco route is also planned, with track to L.A. scheduled for completion as soon as 2015.) But the dream of going from Disney to Sin City in under 2 hours already got a $45 million infusion last year.
The big losers? Business-travel purveyors. A late-stage amendment prevents companies getting TARP funds from the government from "excessive expenditures," which may include corporate retreats. The president specifically targeted company meetings in Vegas as an example of what not to do if you're a bank, and Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs listened. But Vegas' loss could be a gain for post-industrial cities looking to gain a foothold in the convention business -- nothing glamorous about Spokane or Detroit, right?
· Taking Apart the Stimulus Package [Washington Post]
· Home and car buyers get tax breaks in stimulus package [USA Today]
· Stimulus funds could fuel Anaheim's fast trains [OC Register]
· Business travel boosters go on the offensive [Las Vegas Sun]
· Opinion: Stimulus bill amendment could hurt Las Vegas [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
[Photo of a Seattle adult-entertainment marquee: djbones]