Los Angeles-To-Las Vegas High-Speed Train Wins $200 Million Nevada Bond Allocation

As mentioned in Forbes, July 24, 2020, XpressWest, a high-speed rail line that will connect Southern California to Las Vegas, won $200 million of private activity bonds from Nevada, a critical final public allocation that allows the company owned by Wall Street investor Wes Edens to raise an additional $800 million for the project. The Nevada State Board of Finance’s approval for the project, a unit of Edens’ Florida-based Brightline passenger rail service, comes after California awarded it $600 million of private activity bonds in April. XpressWest can sell four times the value of the awards as tax-exempt bonds to private investors, meaning it’s now lined up $3.2 billion of funding from the two states. Including a $1 billion U.S. Department of Transportation allocation in March 2020, XpressWest has lined up $4.2 billion of the 170-mile rail line’s total $5 billion construction cost. XpressWest says the project will create a total of 30,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs in the neighboring states once the line is up and running in a few years. The company estimates its West Coast and Florida rail projects will cost a combined $9 billion build but Edens says they will eventually generate “spectacular” profits. Brightine estimates the two projects may haul nearly 20 million passengers in 2026, generate annual revenue of $1.6 billion and operating profit of almost $1 billion a year. XpressWest entered into a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation to construct the rail line on I-15’s median, Caltrans announced in a news release. XpressWest will operate electric trains traveling at speeds up to 200 miles an hour to move people between Southern California and Las Vegas in 85 minutes. Construction is to start late this year and the company estimates it will attract 10 million riders annually. Currently, the California terminus for the XpressWest line is Apple Valley, a high desert community about 90 minutes from Los Angeles, but the project is in talks to extend it to Rancho Cucamonga, a Los Angeles suburb that’s connected to downtown LA via the Metrolink commuter rail service.

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