Construction of Virgin's $4.8B California-Las Vegas bullet train line will start in Q3 2020 | Dump Trucks Charlotte NC
Columbus Ohio Dump Truck Company Brief:
- Virgin Trains USA updated its timeline for construction of the 170-mile, $4.8 billion high-speed train from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, and said it could break ground as early as the third quarter of 2020.
Dump Trucks Columbus OH Insight:
For Virgin to meet its target deadline it also needs the Nevada DOB to approve a $950 million private activity bond program in January or February. The $950 million includes $200 million from Nevada's debt limit allocation and $150 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Virgin already won bond approval in California. Last month, the state's Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank authorized the issuance of $3.2 billion worth of tax-exempt, fixed-rate revenue bonds, the proceeds of which will be used for the construction of the line, which is being built under the name of Virgin affiliate DesertXpress Enterprises LLC and will operate as XpressWest.
San Bernardino County, California, is sponsoring the bonds, and the money will go toward design, development, construction, operation and maintenance once the rail line is up and running.
Quigley also told the Review-Journal that the rail's route along I-15 in California will not allow pedestrians or vehicles to get in the way of the bullet train because the line will be built over or under interchanges.
Virgin formed a partnership with Brightline earlier this year, and the South Florida high-speed trains have killed 41 people since July 2017, according to an Associated Press analysis. This gives Brightline the highest fatality rate of the 821 railroads operating in the United States. Most of the deaths have been ruled suicide, while others happened because people ignored the warning bells and crossing lights. Drugs and alcohol were found to have also played a role in the deaths.
This month, Florida DOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault ordered the department to implement "unprecedented rail safety measures" and an education program meant to prevent deaths on or near state-road and state-owned crossings.
Thibault directed FDOT staff to:
- Implement dynamic envelopes, which are marked areas extending from both sides of the track, at more than 4,000 existing rail crossings in the state and to include them in the design of future rail crossings.
- Launch a rail-safety education initiative.
- Work with state and local law enforcement agencies to help enforce rail safety regulations.
- Continue the partnership with private rail agencies to increase safety in design and engineering.
The FDOT projects that the dynamic envelope program, which can reduce the number of vehicles stopping too close to or on rail crossings by 15%, will cost $60 million and should be complete by March 2022.