A $430 million railway system intended to haul garbage to a desert landfill is at a standstill because Los Angeles County sanitation officials say it's cheaper to use local dumps.
The LA County Sanitation Districts will pay $15 million each year to dump 648,000 tons of trash into Orange County landfills under a two-year contract that began last month.
Charles Boehmke, head of solid waste management for the districts, says LA County's disposal needs dropped dramatically starting in 2005 as the economic downturn began.
Officials decided the trash train would not be economical.
Boehmke says the new rail stations, bridges and track that connect the Puente Hills trash-sorting facility to rail lines running 200 miles into the desert remain on standby for future use.