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LV-to-LA train extension in works

In an exchange of letters, DesertXpress and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have pledged to work together to build same-train service between Las Vegas and downtown Los Angeles.

The proposed DesertXpress line will run only from Las Vegas to Victorville, at a top speed of 150 miles per hour. The authority has taken the initial steps not only to speed up the existing commuter trains between Union Station in Los Angeles and Palmdale but also to construct tracks bridging the gap between Palmdale and Victorville. Planning is still in early stages, with no timetable or funding in place.

DesertXpress lists a construction price of $6.9 million, up from the $6.5 billion last used early this year and nearly double the $3.5 billion given four years ago. DesertXpress CEO Andrew Mack said a number of factors have contributed to the rising total as the engineering has become more refined.

The company said it is seeking a $5.5 billion taxpayer loan through the Federal Railroad Administration; the agency had earlier reported $6 billion. The remaining $1.4 billion would come from unspecified private sources, although that number could change depending on the agency’s funding decision.

DesertXpress indicated it was in the process of coming up with a new name but did not give further details.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

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