High speed rail in Vegas hits blackjack

Nevada Senator Harry Reid and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently publicly announced the Federal Railroad Administration’s final environmental impact statement for the $6 billion high-speed DesertXpress project, which will connect Las Vegas to Southern California. 

The release of the statement represents a significant moment in President Obama’s transportation initiative, making the construction of high-speed rail within the United States one step closer to breaking ground.

By providing passenger rail transportation along an approximate 200-mile corridor, the DesertXpress will be used as an alternative to the frequently congested travel along highway I-15, and a mere 85-minute travel-time between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas.

Billions of dollars have already been set aside for the development of high-speed rail, which is predicted to create thousands of quality jobs and serve as a major engine for economic development throughout the country. 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 30 companies have already committed to creating and expanding U.S. rail manufacturing if given portions of the funds. 

Further funding requests in coming years could put the total cost of a nationwide network of high speed rail trains even further into the cost stratosphere.

Although there has been no specific date announced for the beginning of the construction of the corridor, the six-years spent by federal and state agencies on developing this area are wrapping up.

It is hoped the start of construction of DesertXpress will begin at the end of 2011.

Mindy Cooper, EarthTechling