Developers of DesertXPress, the $6 billion high-speed rail project linking Las Vegas with Victorville, were granted approval this week to move forward by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The environmental review, a five-year process overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration, was the final step in securing an impact report that had to maneuver through sign-offs from the Federal Highway Administration, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Surface Transportation Board.
But the 186-mile rail corridor, a pet project of the current administration, may need more momentum to avoid a House vote that has Republicans promising to divert $1.5 billion set aside for high-speed rail to Midwest flood relief, notes a report from McCatchy Newspapers.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is relying on federal funding to develop a system connecting Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles. DesertXpress officials intend to link to the proposed California system, traveling up to speeds of 150 miles per hour.
Clearing the environmental study is also a green light for potential job growth, say developers of the project, claiming nearly 46,000 jobs will be created in San Bernardino County and Southern Nevada, supported by 43,000 secondary jobs, says the press release from DesertXpress Enterprises responding to the news of the approval from the federal government.
The completion of the report allows Desert Xpress Enterprises to pursue funding, enabling the Federal Railroad Administration to review a $5.9 billion federal loan application, plus move forward to complete a final design by the end of the year, leading to a groundbreaking. The approval gives this project a significant advantage over its competitor, the magnetic levitation train, adds the Las Vegas Review Journal.
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