Environmental Study Completed on Desert Xpress Project - 8 News NOW

Environmental Study Completed on Desert Xpress Project

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LAS VEGAS -- A high speed rail system from Las Vegas to southern California cleared another hurdle Friday. But the $6 billion project promising 30,000 jobs could still be a couple years out.

Animation of the DesertXpress high speed train shows passengers going 150 miles an hour. It connects Las Vegas to Victorville, California, 85 miles away from downtown Los Angeles. Designers claim it would take 3 million cars off I-15 and create 30,000 construction jobs.

Friday, they got a boost from the Federal Transportation Secretary at UNLV.

Senator Harry Reid switched support from a previous maglev train project to the DesertXpress. His support could mean around $5 billion in federally-guaranteed loans to build the tracks.

"Magnetic levitation has been on the public dole from the very beginning and there's been no private money in that ever. It should get a new life and go to something else. It's not going to happen," he said.

The question remains, How do passengers get to L.A.? DesertXpress starts in Las Vegas and continues along the route of I-15 and ends in Victorville. If it could connect to Palmdale, it could connect to the California high speed rail system coming in the next several years.

However, nobody knows who is going to be building the stretch of track between Palmdale and Victorville. So how will people get to Los Angeles?

"The same way they do when they fly in to Ontario, or John Wayne Airport today. They rent a car and they drive to where they go, which is what southern Californians do," said DesertXpress CEO Andrew Mack.

New technology, large estimates of ridership, a desired destination that could not quite be reached all guaranteed with government loans. DesertXpress has much in common with the financially troubled Las Vegas Monorail.

Now that environmental studies are complete, DesertXpress will come up with an amount they will need in federal loans. There are no current dates for construction beginning on the project.

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