LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Plans to build a high-speed train between Southern California and Las Vegas really could become a reality because of a big money boost. California made the first step in helping the private company access billions of dollars in financing.
California is expected to approve $300 million in tax-exempt private bonds for Virgin Trains USA this year, followed by the same amount next year. That would allow the company to issue about $2.4 billion in debt which is about half of what they say is needed to build the train.
Ben Porritt, senior vice president for public affairs at the company, called the approval “a major milestone.”
“This is a significant private investment that will generate thousands of new jobs, spark new mixed use and housing development and remove nearly 4.5 million cars off the road each year,” he said in an emailed statement./
The California-Nevada project calls for 185 miles of track which would get passengers to and from Las Vegas and Victorville in 90 minutes. Construction is on pace to start next year.
Virgin is in the process of seeking similar financing from Nevada and the federal government.