The company behind a high-speed train that would connect Las Vegas to Southern California says they hope to break ground on the project sometime in 2020.
Virgin Trains USA says they will start construction on their initial 180-mile rail project sometime in the middle of next year, with plans to start operating towards the end of 2023.
The line will end in Victorville, for now, but Virgin Trains also plans to eventually extend the track to Palmdale and then Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. While Las Vegas to Victorville can normally take up to three hours by car, the train would only take between 75 and 90 minutes, and would run every 45 minutes.
“The economy here in Clark County is booming. A lot of people want to be here. There’s a lot of excitement going on and now is the right time to make this project happen,” said Vice President Bob O’Malley speaking to Clark County Commissioners on Tuesday.
While financing is still up in the air, supporters of the roughly $5 billion project point to the success of a similar effort by Virgin Trains in South Florida to connect Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and eventually Orlando.
O’Malley’s team estimates the project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs, in addition to removing 4.5 million cars annually from the congestion of I-15.
The Las Vegas end of the line would have a station on Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond Road, which is in close proximity to the new Allegiant Stadium being built for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.