Reid, Gibbons, spar over train funding

(AP) - Gov. Jim Gibbons and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid are sparring over $45 million once earmarked to help pay for a high-speed maglev rail project between southern Nevada and California.

The war of words was sparked when Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns said money from the federal government was on its way.

On Wednesday, federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sent a letter to Gibbons, saying he was mistaken.

Burns acknowledged announcement of the funding was premature but said the money was appropriated in a law passed last year.

"This law was passed by Congress and signed by the president," Burns told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's done. It can only be spent in one place unless someone changes the law."

Reid earlier this year abandoned his support for the magnetic levitation project, saying backers had taken too long to show progress or raise matching private funding. He instead backed a competing DesertXpress train system and said the $45 million would be reallocated to Nevada road projects.

"Nevada is still going to get the $45 million, but the money's not going to go to maglev," Reid spokesman Jon Summers told the Las Vegas Sun. "It's going to other transportation projects and it's going to put Nevadans to work."

Burns said Gibbons was "mystified" that Reid would try to stand in the way of the maglev project.

Summers in turn said Gibbons was ignoring the facts, calling statements from the governor's office misleading and "unfortunate."


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