High-Speed Rail

California to Assist Financing of High-Speed Train Between Victorville and Las Vegas

According to ktla.com, September 18, 2019, California officials could put a private company’s plan to build a high-speed train connecting Las Vegas and Southern California one step closer to reality by helping it access billions of dollars in private financing. A committee chaired by state Treasurer Fiona Ma is likely to approve $300 million in tax-exempt private activity bonds for Virgin Trains USA this year, followed by the same amount again next year. That will allow the company to issue about $2.4 billion in debt, roughly half of what it needs to build the first private, high-speed train in the U.S. West. “This is a significant private investment that will generate thousands of new jobs, spark new mixed use and housing development and remove nearly 4.5 million cars off the road each year,” said Ben Porritt, senior vice president for public affairs at the company. Virgin Trains USA, previously known as Brightline, already operates a high-speed train in Florida. Its California-Nevada project is expected to span 185 miles and take 90 minutes to move passengers between Las Vegas and Victorville, California, which is northeast of Los Angeles. Construction is expected to start in 2020 and take three years. Virgin is in the process of seeking similar financing help from Nevada and the federal government.

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