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High-speed train developer waiting for federal funding

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Updated: 2/12/2013 12:26 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The construction of the high-speed rail system project that would run from Victorville, Calif., to Las Vegas is taking longer than anticipated, according to the project's chief operational officer.

The project has all the permits to get construction under way, but money remains a problem.

XpressWest, the company expected to build this massive rail system, is waiting for the approval of a $5.5 billion federal loan. Usually those loans take about a year and half to approve, but because of the amount, it's taking longer.

Andrew Mack, the company's chief operating officer, reported to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority the company has all the permits in place and approved, but it can't break ground until they get the federal financial backing.

The project also calls for $1.4 billion in private-sector funds. When asked if the company had secured that money yet, Mack declined to answer, citing confidentiality of the agreements.

The train’s developers say the high-speed rail system will hopefully be the first leg of a larger rail network.

Mack says even though the train would run only to Victorville, he expects many travelers to jump on board.

“Victorville is the natural collection point of millions of drivers coming through,” southern California, he said. “Only 40 percent of total Las Vegas visitation comes through SoCal, and almost everyone goes through Victorville. It's a convenient collection point for those drivers.”

The developer says it will cost roughly $100 round trip from Victorville to Las Vegas, with trains running every 20 minutes, which he says will ensure travelers will have the flexibility to come and go as they please.



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