Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plans for High-speed Train From Vegas to Victorville Continues....

There have been plans developing since 2009 for a high-speed rail alternative to the often discussed magnetic levitation train to Southern California. The plan has been targeting using private funds, and will create up to 3,000 jobs during construction and prompt the displacement of some desert tortoises, representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration and an environmental consultant have proposed. Nevada Senator Harry Reid has also been a promoter of the train. It has been targeted to be called the DesertXpress, and would connect Las Vegas to Victorville not Anaheim, as the California Nevada Super Speed Train Commission proposed. The DesertXpress would operate at a speed of 150 mph which is half that of maglev (Anaheim Train). A one-way ticket would cost about $55. But DesertXpress Enterprises believes its project is more viable than the prior alternative, and DesertXpress could be funded through long-term debt and equity financing, as well as a public loan. DesertXpress will be electric and proposes a second phase to connect the train either diesel or electric-based to a nexus of public transit north of Los Angeles in Palmdale, Calif. The draft environmental impact statement has not initially included a study of the Victorville to Palmdale leg. Representatives of DesertXpress estimate that construction of the 180-mile project at $3.5 billion to $4 billion, whereas they predict the alternative 260-mile maglev line at $16 billion to $52 billion. The commission, however, recently pegged the maglev project at about $12 billion. DesertXpress would share existing transportation corridors, mostly Interstate 15. For example, an 85-mile stretch from Yermo, Calif. to Mountain Pass would be built in the freeway median and alongside it.. A span of the train could be built along the Union Pacific Railroad into the Las Vegas area, north of Jean. And a section of I-15 in the southern Las Vegas Valley could be built over the median. A potential Las Vegas station could be near I-15 and Flamingo Road consultants have indicated. A maintenance facility could be built near I-15 and Wigwam or I-15 and Robindale Road. A train from Long Beach to Vegas was used before in 1955 and taken out of service by 1966. It was a standard train of its time, but a direct express. Is there enough potential traffic between Victorville and Las Vegas? Or will the bulk be gamblers and resort seekers. It will certainly create a lot of activity and speculative land activity if this project truly takes off. Most of this land east of San Bernardino is open space, and habitat for endangered species.

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