A high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is moving closer and closer to reality.
The Nevada State Board of Finance has approved a $200 million bond allocation to XpressWest, a company looking to connect Southern California to Las Vegas with a high-speed train that will significantly cut down on the four-hour drive between the two cities.
XpressWest is owned by Wall Street investor Wes Edens and as a division of his Florida-based Brightline passenger rail service, according to Forbes.
While $200 million might not sound like much, it is a private activity bond that allows Edens to sell four times the amount of money it was awarded as tax-exempt bonds to private investors. Counting the $600 million the project has already been awarded from the state of California, Edens now has $800 million in bonds and can sell up to $3.2 billion in funding between the two states.
Add in the $1 billion U.S. Department of Transportation allocation in March, XpressWest has $4.2 billion of the 170-mile rail line’s total $5 billion construction cost.
“This plan creates jobs without using taxpayer dollars and without impacting our state’s ability to finance future projects, and will allow a new, convenient mode of transportation between Nevada and California,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said, according to Forbes.
XpressWest says the project will create a total of 30,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs in the neighboring states. Edens told Forbes he sees an opportunity for something similar done in Europe – create high-speed rail lines between cities (like Paris to London) that are too close to fly but too far to drive.