A Florida firm has acquired XpressWest, the high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Las Vegas and Southern California, it was announced this week.
Brightline, a privately owned company that operates passenger rail service in Florida, will take over the development, construction and operation of the project and work with federal and local transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville, with future plans to expand into the Los Angeles area, according to a news release from Brightline.
“Brightline’s model is setting a new standard for train travel in America,” stated Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline. “We look forward to working with the region’s stakeholders to make this vision a reality.”
The first phase of the corridor is expected to be built on a right of way within and adjacent to Interstate 15, traversing 185 miles with no at-grade or pedestrian crossings. Construction is expected to begin next year and Brightline is planning to begin initial service in 2022.
“Planning for additional stations and connectivity to California Metrolink and eventually California High-Speed Rail is underway,” according to the Brightline news release.
These future plans may include a 60-mile link west between Victorville and Palmdale, where the line would meet with Metrolink commuter rail lines and the California High Speed Rail line that is under construction, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
To help facilitate the future High Desert Corridor freeway which will link Palmdale and Victorville, Palmdale helped create the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority board, which includes Palmdale, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Victorville and Adelanto.
The Board designated $270 million in Measure M transportation funds to acquire right-of-way between Victorville and Palmdale.
“This is a 25-year vision of the city. It is one part of a world-class transportation plan for the region,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.
Similar to Brightline’s operations in Florida, the corridor between Southern California and Las Vegas is expected to generate major regional economic benefits, including construction and permanent job opportunities and local and state tax revenue.
“California has a vision for a modernized rail network that is fast, clean, and convenient for travelers, and the introduction of Brightline service linking Southern California to Las Vegas will help us achieve that vision” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary, Brian Annis. “Brightline will be beneficial for our economy and our transportation system.”
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