One high speed rail project in Nevada dubbed DesertXpress looks to be moving closer to reality. The initiative which we reported on earlier this year, would connect Victorville, California – just north of Los Angeles – to Las Vegas, Nevada with roughly 200 miles of commuter track.
Earlier this month, Senator Harry Reid announced that the DesertXpress project is at least one step closer to being completed now that the Department of Transportation has issued its Record of Decision, a final review of the Environmental Impact Statement which will set monitoring conditions, alternatives considered, and required mitigation.
According to the Senator’s office, the high speed rail project would create roughly 32,000 jobs in the region over the next three years. But, DesertXpress has been in the planning stages for six years now, and will cost over $5 billion to complete. Even though a claimed 26% of all Las Vegas visitors come from the southern California region, it remains to be seen whether or not the rail project will actually begin construction later this year.
We ran down different issues facing high speed rail in Episode 3 of Green Tech Chatter podcast, noting other countries, particularly China, seem to be out-pacing American efforts, which have stalled, in part, due to budget cuts. Of course, all of this news came before budget negotiations between Congress and President Obama on raising the United State’s debt ceiling came to a stand-still. So, at this point, several proposed federal high speed projects, including DesertXpress, may or may not zoom forward depending upon the final federal outcome.