High-speed rail pushes on without federal funding

By Bill Holloway

Xpress West, the high-speed rail developer that had been seeking federal loans and private investors to support its plan to build a high-speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas, has formed a partnership with China Railway International USA to move the project forward. China Railway International will provide $100 million initially and officials say construction could begin in fall 2016. The proposed alignment will run 185 miles, primarily along the I-15 corridor, linking Victorville, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, with service every 20 minutes during peak times.

A proposed extension via the High Desert Corridor, linking Xpress West’s Victorville station with Palmdale, 60 miles to the west, will connect the Xpress West line to Las Vegas with the existing Metrolink commuter rail service, as well as the California High Speed Rail system.

As noted in this recent Citylab article, Xpress West’s partnership with China Railway International is just one of the innovative ways that high-speed rail projects are moving forward despite the absence of federal funding. Funding for other projects and proposed projects could come from cap-and-trade revenue, value capture, private investors, and a loan from Japan.

Bill Holloway is a Transportation Policy Analyst at SSTI.