The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) has approved the largest bond ever requested to issue tax-exempt fixed rate revenue bonds in the amount of USD 3.25 billion for the Desert Xpress Enterprises (XpressWest), an affiliate of Virgin Trains USA.
The bond will help to the construction of a high-speed rail project in the County of San Bernardino, from Victorville (140 km northeast of Los Angeles) to Las Vegas, allowing passengers to travel from Southern California to Las Vegas.
“This is an exciting day not just because it’s the largest bond request IBank has ever received and approved, but also because of what having high speed rail can do for Southern California. The IBank team and all of the other entities involved were extremely dedicated to seeing this project through. We’re proud to be involved in helping to bring this major infrastructure project to San Bernardino County and the surrounding area,” Acting Executive Director, Nancee Robles, said.
It is expected that the construction works will start next year, and train services would be launched in 2023, taking 90 minutes travelling from Victorville to railway stations in Las Vegas.
The 210-km railway line will allow trains to run at speeds of 290 km/h, removing 4.5 million car trips per year, according to estimations.
The project is expected to create more than 15,750 construction jobs as well as employ more than 400 people once the rail system is operational.
In 2018, Virgin Trains USA acquired XpressWest that has the right to construct the high-speed railway line connecting Victorville to Las Vegas.