LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- XpressWest, a Brightline Company, has been given the green light to use existing Interstate 15 right-of-way in California.
According to a news release, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on authority from the California State Transportation Agency announced that it has entered into a lease agreement allowing XpressWest to use existing State-owned right-of-way along I-15 for high-speed passenger rail service between the Town of Apple Valley (near Victorville) and Las Vegas.
The 170-mile long trip between the Victor Valley Region to Las Vegas will be built within the median of the I-15, the release said. Electric and zero emission trains will reach top speeds of 200 miles per hour, transporting passengers between destinations in 85 minutes.
According to the release, approximately 145 miles of the system will be in California. The project will be privately financed and is expected to break ground by the end of the year.
“This is a major milestone in connecting two world-class destinations – Southern California and Las Vegas – with high-speed passenger rail service,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “The XpressWest trains will provide a convenient alternative to driving to and from Las Vegas while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Every year, the release notes, there are 50 million trips made between Las Vegas and Southern California, 85% of which are made by car or bus. "Ridership estimates show that at full operations, XpressWest will carry 10 million passengers each year."
The project will mark Brightline's first corridor outside Florida and the second privately funded express intercity passenger service in the nation, the release notes.