The project is supported by Brightline, a private express intercity rail company which announced its expansion to the West collaborating with XpressWest, a federally approved rail corridor along Interstate 15. The conception of the project is not new but the construction was delayed the past decade due to funding problems. In 2013, XpressWest's $5,5 billion government loan was put off while a Chinese effort failed. The line is expected to cost about $7 billion and the construction will begin in 2019, according to Brightline. The company will acquire 38 acres of land near Las Vegas where a train station will be constructed. By 2022, the connection between Las Vegas and Victorville will be completed while the plan is to extend the line another 80 miles to Los Angeles.
The linkage of Las Vegas and Southern California is essential. More than 50 million trips are recorded between these areas annually but people are limited to traveling by airplane or car. The new railway will provide an alternative opportunity that will make the same trip in less than 2 hours.
Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group states: “Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and too short to fly. Our experience in Florida is proving that private-sector investment has a meaningful role to play in developing transportation infrastructure. We’re excited to bring Brightline’s world-class and convenient travel experience to Southern California and Las Vegas.”
The railway is expected to generate major financial benefits including, among others, permanents jobs, subsequent construction projects and tourist-infrastructure development. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said: “The introduction of high-speed rail between Las Vegas to Southern California will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to our state and support increased tourism. Brightline has built a proven model for privately funded high-speed rail service in Florida and we are excited to welcome them to Nevada.”