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August 21, 2014

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Transportation secretary: Gibbons ‘not accurate’ in noting maglev earmark

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AP Photo/Telegraph Herald, Jessica Reilly and Nevada Appeal file

Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, left, sent a letter to Gov. Jim Gibbons saying the governor was inaccurate to report the feds were releasing $45 million for a high-speed train to Southern California.

WASHINGTON -- The check is not in the mail.

That was the message today to Gov. Jim Gibbons in a letter from the Department of Transportation secretary regarding the release of $45 million earmarked for the maglev train.

"It has come to my attention that you were recently quoted in the media as saying that Nevada expected to receive funds this week," Secretary Ray LaHood wrote. "If such a statement was made, it is not accurate."

LaHood said he "cannot commit to a date certain" when the Federal Rail Administration would take action.

Gibbons announced last week that the feds were releasing $45 million for the magnetic levitation train between Las Vegas and Southern California, funds that had been set aside for the project in a 2008 federal spending bill. The money had been delayed as the maglev project lagged in coming up with the $11 million in required matching funds.

Maglev and the proposed DesertXpress train are in a fierce competition for the Vegas-to-Southern California route.

The maglev project suffered a setback earlier this year when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped his support in favor of DesertXpress, but Gibbons' announcement last week stoked the competition as he stepped up to back maglev.

LaHood said the maglev project was under review.

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