Virgin Trains’ Las Vegas to LA line on track for 2023 opening
Following quite a time of talk, Virgin Trains USA seems prepared to bring the long-talked-about Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail to life.
Bob O’Malley, Virgin Trains’ vice president of corporate development, told the Clark County Commission on Tuesday that the Las Vegas to Victorville, California, rail line is on track to kick things off in the center of one year from now, with tasks scheduled to start around the finish of 2023.
The station would be on Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond streets, moving from a long-gossiped site close to the Rio.
“We had a number of different sites (in mind) when Virgin Trains came out and announced we were behind this project,” O’Malley said Tuesday following the commission meeting. “As you could imagine, numerous property owners came out of the woodwork and said, ‘We have a better site for you.’ We did our due diligence, and this was the right fit for us. I think it fits not just from a transportation operation standpoint, but nicely with the community and the overall reach.”
Finding an area with access to the hotel passage, Allegiant Stadium — which will have a parking garage with transport to the arena — McCarran International Airport and Interstate 15 made the site perfect for Virgin Trains, O’Malley said.
Like its Florida venture, Virgin Trains intends to work around the train station, which could incorporate office, living and retail space, O’Malley said.
Design plans for the rail line are about 30 percent complete, and a development group has been enlisted, O’Malley said.
The course of events is dependent upon Nevada endorsing tex exempt, private action bonds to go toward the venture one month from now.
Before going to the Nevada Department of Business and Industry on Nov. 11, Virgin Trains is looking for the sponsorship of the Clark County Commission, which will decide on support for the task at its Nov. 5 gathering.
“We’ve come to this point where we do have a serious partner in Virgin who brings the funding and expertise,” Commissioner Michael Naft said. “This is a significant project for this community and one we’ve been waiting for for a long time.”
Virgin is looking for $800 million in bonds to issue $2.4 billion paying off debtors, or a large portion of the sum the organization needs to back the trains and the 185 miles of double tracks along Interstate 15. The sum incorporates $600 million in securities from California and $200 million from Nevada.
The Nevada Department of Business and Industry will consider two $100 million solicitations from Virgin one month from now, with the first $100 million expected to be settled on around then.
California a month ago affirmed $300 million in tax exempt, private activity bonds to help fund the proposed Virgin Trains venture.
California will consider another $300 million and Nevada an extra $100 million solicitation one year from now. Getting the complete security sum looked for between the two states would enable Virgin Trains to be qualified for federal grant financing, adding up to a 4-to-1 match.
The Las Vegas to Victorville line would be the initial move toward connecting Las Vegas to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.
Brightline purchased the California and Nevada framework from XpressWest a year ago, at that point joined forces with Virgin Trains and rebranded, hoping to extend high speed rail in Florida, California and Nevada.
Virgin Trains, once in the past Brightline, has run a high speed rail framework in South Florida for about a year from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, with an extension to Orlando in progress.
O’Malley said the much-advertised Las Vegas to Southern California line will produce $1.98 billion in financial effect, make in excess of 1,000 new jobs, transport 5.5 million guests to Las Vegas yearly and expel 4.5 million vehicles from I-15 every year.
While inhabitants in Nevada and California may question the task on account of its history of talk and no outcomes, O’Malley said Virgin Trains’ work in Florida ought to mitigate those worries.
“We’ve done it in Florida, and we’re applying the same model here and we execute,” he said. “We’re a transportation company that’s building a transportation system, and we know how to do this.”