Las Vegas Sun

July 20, 2019

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High-speed rail panel to select operator by Nov. 30

 XpressWest

Courtesy of XpressWest

An artist’s rendering of a train on the XpressWest high-speed rail line.

The Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority held its first meeting Tuesday evening and established a delayed timeline for selecting an applicant to construct a high-speed rail system from Southern Nevada to Southern California.

The board, created in May by Senate Bill 457 and charged with selecting a private developer to operate the rail system, was originally required to make its selection by Thursday. Instead, it might not select a franchisee until November.

The board will accept high-speed rail applications until Oct. 26 and set a new selection deadline for Nov. 30.

The board got off to a delayed start because appointees to the rail authority were not named until early September, said Regional Transportation Commission legal counsel David Clyde, so it is now adhering to the legislative intent.

In considering applications, the board is required to weigh four criteria: the completion of environmental studies, the level of private investment, pending regulatory permits, and how far the applicant is from beginning construction.

The franchisee is expected to be XpressWest, a high-speed rail project that would initially run from Las Vegas to Victorville and eventually link to Los Angeles. Despite a number of setbacks in recent years, the project appears to have found new backing. Earlier this month, the Las Vegas-based project announced a $100 million investment from a consortium of state-owned Chinese companies and said construction could begin by September 2016.

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