Just last week, California approved $600 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed rail project by Virgin Trains USA.
The train, which will be the first-of-its-kind in the US, was already granted $2.4 billion in private equity bonds, but California’s bond approval marked the project’s biggest leap forward yet.
And last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $1 billion in bonds that would go toward the highly-anticipated project.
The last major milestone in the high-speed rail development will be approval of Nevada’s bond.
Should Nevada approve the bond in a timely manner, the project will begin by the end of 2020. The service is expected to begin operations near the end of 2023.
Las Vegas Will Benefit from High-Speed Rail
Las Vegas will likely see an increase in visitors coming from Southern California, especially those who are looking to make a weekend trip and not have to deal with the traffic on Interstate 15 heading there and back.
Because of the expected increase in Southern California visitors, Virgin plans to strike deals with Las Vegas resorts and convention centers to make the trip more convenient and streamlined for the traveler before they even set foot on the train to Sin City.
According to Virgin Trains, they expect the high-speed train service will generate $1.98 billion in direct economic impact for Nevada. The company estimates it will create $73 million in state and local tax revenue each year.
Environmental Impact of Rail Service
Not only will the modern rail service create a major boost in Nevada’s economy, it’s also expected to make the air a little cleaner on I-15. Through the rail service, it will remove an estimated 4.5 million cars from Interstate 15 yearly.
That means that an impressive 300,000 metric tons of carbon will be effectively taken out of the air, according to an analysis report by Virgin Trains.
Rail Line Details; Route and Amenities
Currently, the rail will be built out to go from Las Vegas, at a starting location near the South Premium Outlet Mall, to Victorville, California, where the rail line to end initially.
Future expansion details are looking to take the train route from Victorville to downtown Los Angeles. This will make it convenient for travelers coming from Las Vegas, as it will eliminate having to come up with a way to get from the Victor Valley to Los Angeles proper.
The trains will be able to carry up to 600 people and get passengers between Las Vegas and Victorville within 90 minutes since it’ll be moving at a speed of up to 180 mph.
The high-speed train will also feature amenities on board, including food and beverage service.
About Virgin Trains USA
Known as Brightline rail service until mid-2020, Virgin Trains USA is an inner-city rail system in the US that was recently introduced to build privately-funded passenger systems in locations in the US.
It began operating in Jan. 2018. Fortress Investment Group owns and operates the rail system, and is currently the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail system in the states.