This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The executives at the Utah Transit Authority envision a future where high-speed trains zip from Denver to Salt Lake and from Salt Lake to Las Vegas.

One person who hasn't caught that vision yet is Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is skeptical of the money President Barack Obama put in his newly released budget for early high-speed rail projects.

"This budget contains $53 billion for construction of high speed rail in Florida, California, and several other states," Hatch said on the Senate floor. "If there is a bigger big government boondoggle out there, I am not aware of it."

Asked to elaborate, Hatch told The Salt Lake Tribune that he likes the idea of high speed rail, he just doesn't see how it is feasible.

"It would be a great thing if we could afford it," he said. "I don't think you could justify the ridership."

UTA participates in the Western High Speed Rail Alliance working to connect commuters in California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The group received a $1 million earmark through former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, to study the proposal.

— Matt Canham