It’s a project that doesn’t seem to ever get started but won’t go away. High Speed Rail service from Las Vegas to LA has been a matter of discussion in Las Vegas since the 1990’s. The most recent version includes Richard Branson and Virgin Trains USA, who are seeking authorization from both Nevada and California to issue $800 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance the high-speed rail project linking Las Vegas and Victorville CA.
Virgin Trains USA has partnered with Brightline who acquired XpressWest about a year ago when the previous high-speed rail project folded. In the acquisition, Brightline now owns the rights of way to build the 185 miles of high-speed rail tracks between Las Vegas and Victorville. Gaining authorization from the two states on the tax-exempt bonds would then make Brightline/Virgin Trains eligible for federal funding at a 4 to 1 match. The group needs to raise $4 billion to get the project off the ground. It’s unclear how soon financing for the project will be available to begin development, but predictions are for a 2020 construction start date and 2023 completion.
The Virgin USA Plan
Under the new plan, the company plans to lay two high speed tracks running side by side along the 185-mile route, which would run alongside I-15 for much of the route. These trains would run at 120 mph to 150 mph for most of the route making the entire ride about an hour and 15 minutes. The Las Vegas station for the proposed project, to be called Harmon Station, would be located near the Rio Hotel. The Victorville terminus would be at the site of the current Amtrak Station in Victorville. It is expected that support businesses and transportation links, including ride sharing, will develop near both stations to assist travelers getting to their final destinations.
The project would generate nearly $2 billion in economic impact according to Bob O’Malley, VP of Virgin Trains USA. It will create over 1,000 construction jobs for the term of the project and is projected to transport 5.5 million visitors to Las Vegas per year. The effect would be 4.5 fewer cars traveling I-15 each year, with an associated $14 million in environmental benefits annually.
A Concept whose time has come?
While time will tell whether this plan gains traction and comes to fruition, there are several factors aligning which may make this project more viable than its predecessors. With the Raider’s Allegiant Stadium scheduled for opening for the 2020 season, which happens to be located about a mile south of the proposed Harmon Station, this project could be a support to travelers coming from LA to watch the game. Besides football, 46 major events have been scheduled for the venue once it opens.
Community resources seem to be aligning with this latest plan as well, with Las Vegas officials discussing potential light rail lines between Harmon Station and downtown Las Vegas as well. A painless way to get from Vegas to LA and vice versa, would be a welcome addition to life in the region. We will keep you informed as this project develops.
Let Ticket Busters ease the pain of getting a ticket
- How does getting a ticket complicate your life?
- Court – Time, probably have to take a day off from work.
- Fines – They keep getting higher
- Points – too many of these and you get suspended
- Insurance Rates – Have to cut out eating to pay insurance premiums
We can help. If you got a ticket in Las Vegas or surrounding Clark County, we will represent you with the Court, and negotiate a settlement…in most cases moving violations can be reduced to the equivalent of a parking ticket, this saves you points on your record, and increased insurance rates. Call us today at (702) 666-6666.