Vegas-to-California train work could start in 2020

Construction on a high-speed train between Las Vegas and Southern California could start late next year if bonds are approved by February, the company planning the project said.

Virgin Trains USA executive Tina Quigley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that work will begin first in California, where state lawmakers recently approved a $3.25 billion bond request.

Virgin is seeking approval in Nevada for $950 million in bonds that state Department of Business chief Terry Reynolds said could get approval next month or in February.


Project designers say the track along Interstate 15 could whisk passengers about 185 miles between Las Vegas and Victorville, California, in about 90 minutes. Victorville is 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Construction is expected to take three years and cost $4.8 billion.

Reynolds said final approval is needed from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Nevada funding would include $200 million from the state debt limit allocation, allowing Virgin to market $800 million in bonds, the Review-Journal said. Another $150 million would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s bond program.

Virgin Trains USA was previously known as Brightline. It already operates a high-speed train through densely populated areas between Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida.