Virgin Trains USA announced the construction of the 170-mile bullet train from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas that will cost US$4.8 billion to construct will be breaking ground as early as the third quarter of 2020. The vice president of business strategy for Virgin Trains USA, Tina Quigley, said that construction would most likely start in five California locations first and that work in Nevada, including for the Las Vegas rail station, would not start until mid-2021. Only 56 kilometres (35 miles) will run through Nevada, while the most up-to-date plan has the majority of the 274-kilometre line running between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in California.
The company cannot begin construction until it receives a record of decision from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), but the director of Nevada’s Department of Business (DOB), Terry Mills, during an interview said, that Virgin plans on being prepared with enough material and equipment so that it can start building as soon as the FRA gives it the green light. They estimate that the entire line, that will transport passengers between Victorville and Las Vegas in 90 minutes, will have been completed by 2023.
Funding for the project.
They have already received a $3.2 billion tax-exempt, fixed-rate revenue bond issuance to help DesertXpress Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of Virgin Trains USA, build a high-speed train from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) and the approval of a $950 million private activity bond program in January or February from the Nevada DOB. They are also receiving sponsored bonds which will go toward design, development, construction, operation and maintenance once the rail line is up and running from the San Bernardino County in California.
The line will be built over or under interchanges thus preventing pedestrians or vehicles from getting in the way of the bullet train.