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Showing posts with the label Desert Xpress

Six Billion Dollar High Speed Train Moves Forward, With Taxpayer Help

The proposed high-speed train line known as the "Desert Xpress" received final environmental approval this week from the Federal Railroad Administration, according to KCET.  The rail would link the City of Victorville with Las Vegas, crossing through the Mojave Desert, and cost at least 6 billion dollars.  The private company proposing the rail line expects a 4.9 billion dollar loan backed by taxpayers to finance most of the project.  As noted on KCET's blog, the rail line has been criticized by citizens as a waste of taxpayer funds and an unwise choice for private investors.  Most travel between Las Vegas and California comes from the Los Angeles basin --why would drivers abandon their cars in Victorville to hop on the train?  And can the line generate enough traffic to pay off the investment?

Most of the line follows the same route as Interstate 15, but the additional infrastructure is expected to compound ecological harm in some areas.  Most notably, the rail line wou…

Desert Xpress Train Nearing Construction; Mag-Lev Still an Option?

I've written before on two competing high speed rail trains proposed for the Mojave Desert, which would connect Victorville and Las Vegas.   According to the developers of Desert Xpress, their high speed rail project is close to breaking ground and could be operating in 2013.  What is not clear is whether or not the Desert Xpress would take the place of the proposed Mag-Lev train or if they could offer duplicate mass transit service crossing the Mojave.  The Mag-Lev train reportedly received nearly 7 billion dollars in financial backing from China.  

The draft environmental impact statement for the Desert Xpress was published last year, and indicates that the route mostly stays close to Interstate 15.  However, sections of the route would veer away from the I-15 into creosote scrubland, and even cross the Ivanpah Valley in the vicinity of the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.   The route would also traverse the edges of Desert Wildlife Management Areas as well as …