By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Brightline Trains, the nation’s only privately owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system, has agreed to buy XpressWest, the high-speed rail project to connect Victorville and Las Vegas.
The announcement was welcomed by San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Robert A. Lovingood, whose supervisorial district includes all of the project’s California segment. Construction is expected to begin next year, with initial service to begin in 2022.
“This is a great step forward,” Supervisor Lovingood said. “Brightline is a private company with private dollars and they are stepping forward. Brightline has a proven track record, so I am glad to see this development.”
The rail project includes a 185-mile federally approved corridor paralleling Interstate 15 between Victorville and Las Vegas. Supervisor Lovingood said the project will have economic benefits beyond just construction jobs in the High Desert.
Brightline will link one of the most traveled routes in the country, connecting more than 22 million people living in Southern California with Las Vegas. Travelers make more than 50 million annual trips between Southern California and Las Vegas. Brightline expects to offer convenient rail service that will make the trip in less than two hours.
Under the agreement with XpressWest, Brightline will take over the development, construction and operation of the project with federal and local transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville. Brightline is acquiring 38 acres adjacent to the Las Vegas strip for construction of the station and mixed-use development.
Brightline currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and is expanding to Orlando.