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Clark County OKs plans for high-speed train station

Updated March 4, 2020 - 2:01 pm

Clark County commissioners approved station plans for the long-talked about Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed train project.

During Wednesday’s county zoning commission meeting, the plans for Virgin Trains’ Las Vegas station were approved during the routine action item portion, meaning no presentation or discussion was needed.

“We appreciate the work of the Clark County commissioners and planning staff for approving our station plan and we are grateful for the support we have received to connect Clark County with Southern California by rail,” said Ben Porritt, Virgin Trains spokesman. “This project will take cars off the road, create jobs and strengthen the transportation network between both states.”

Virgin’s planned station will span more than 273,000 square feet on land near the South Premium Outlets mall, located off Las Vegas Boulevard between El Dorado Lane and Robindale Road.

Plans show the Southern Nevada base for the proposed $4.8 billion high-speed rail link with Southern California would stand two stories tall, with a seven story-tall parking garage also slated for a portion of 110 acres.

The first floor of the terminal would include a self-ticketing area, departure lobby, retail space, baggage claim and office space. Plans call for the second floor to include retail and office space, passenger waiting areas and security. Outdoor drinking and dining possibilities were also noted in the plans.

Also included on the first floor are dedicated travel lanes for taxi and ride-hailing pickups and a separate turnout area for shuttle bus pickup.

The parking garage with 2,680 parking spaces would connect to the train terminal via a 138-foot-long pedestrian walkway.

Plans call for the curbside arrival and departure area to be located off El Dorado Lane, with access points also off Robindale.

Since the station takes up only 14 of the 110 acres, future development is planned to follow.

“While the company hasn’t expanded on the plans beyond the station, we have 100 acres and we certainly will look to develop it over time in a way that would further the transportation business,” a Virgin Trains representative said last month.

The Las Vegas station would transport riders 170 miles to a planned Victor Valley station slated to be built off I-15 near Victorville, California. A maintenance facility would also be located in the Victor Valley.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin later this year, with operations planned to begin in 2023.

All plans are reliant upon tax-exempt, private activity bonds being approved by Nevada and California officials.

Both states are waiting for the Federal Railroad Administration to guarantee them no additional environmental impact work would be required for the project, which was first approved as XpressWest in 2011. The project’s plans were adjusted last year when Virgin Trains came into the fold, causing an additional review before the “record of decision” is provided by the railroad administration.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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