Posts Tagged ‘Xpress West’

Las Vegas Project Bond Sale Reduced

October 22, 2020

The size of the public bond sale that will finance a Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail project has been set at $2.4 billion.

Fortress Investment Group in announcing the sale said it will be the largest offering of unrated municipal securities.

It also acknowledged that the sale is $800,000 less than what it previously expected to sell.

The rail line will be operated by Brightline and extend from Las Vegas to Victorville, California.

Eventually, trains will reach Los Angele over tracks used by commuter rail agency Metrolink. The service has thus far been branded as Xpress West.

Brightline Bond Pricing Delayed

October 16, 2020

The reluctance of investors to buy bonds has led Fortress Investment Group to delay the pricing of $3.2 billion in municipal bonds to finance construction of Brightline’s Xpress West high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas.

A news report this week said investors are shying away from helping to finance the project in an uncertain economic climate.

Bond prices were to have been set on Wednesday but that has been delayed to an unspecified date.

 Brightline, which operates intercity rail passenger service in Florida, has until Dec. 1 to sell the bonds under a deadline set by California officials.

ExpressWest Reaches MOU With Metrolink, Calif. Agency to Study Expansion of Las Vegas Service

September 2, 2020

A memorandum of understanding has been reached between developers of the Brightline/XpressWest project and the boards of Metrolink and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority on a study of a high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles region.

XpressWest has proposed using an existing Metrolink route for 50 miles from a western terminus at Victorville, California.

Use of Metrolink tracks would create service from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga and Palmdale.

“This is a forward-looking partnership that will allow us to explore the possibility to enhance the rider experience and attract new riders,” said Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins.

The SBCTA’s board last July approved an MOU with Brightline/XpressWest to expand the high-speed rail service to Apple Valley, using the right of way through the Cajon Pass along Interstate 15 and eventually connecting with the Metrolink station in Rancho Cucamonga.

SBCTA and XpressWest are expected to collaborate on design and right-of-way issues, SBCTA officials said in a news release.

“The MOU allows us to work with XpressWest in looking outside the box in considering the possibility of a privately built and managed rail system through the Cajon Pass between Apple Valley and Rancho Cucamonga,” said SBCTA Executive Director Ray Wolfe.

California, Texas Rail Development

April 2, 2020

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is soliciting public comment on its proposed Valley Rail Sacramento Extension project.

Plans are to expand Amtrak’s San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor

Express services to the greater Sacramento area through the construction of six rail stations and track improvements along the Union Pacific Railroad’s Sacramento Subdivision.

The expansion would two new San Joaquin roundtrips operating on the Sacramento, Fresno and BNSF Railway Stockton subdivisions, as well as an extension of existing ACE service to the proposed Natomas-Sacramento Airport Station.

Work on the UP would involve construction of new stations in Lodi, south Sacramento, Sacramento City College, Midtown Sacramento, Old North Sacramento, and Natomas/Sacramento Airport.

Three public meetings are tentatively set for April and May while written comments are being accepted via email and mail until May 15.

In other developments, XpressWest said it has taken steps to secure private debt funding for its $4.8 billion plan to build a 170-mile high-speed, electric rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas.

The service would be operated by Virgin Trains USA, which operates the Florida intercity rail service Brightline.

XpressWest officials said if the funding is secured, rail line construction could begin later this year with service launching in 2023.

Texas Central said this week its $20 billion high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston  is now “shovel ready.”

Officials said construction will begin once global financial markets have stabilized and the federal approvals process is complete.

“Our immediate next step is to continue working with our partner organizations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, to finalize our permits,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by July 31.”

Aguilar acknowledged there is a chance the project will not proceed on schedule.

“This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is,” Aguilar said.

“Our engineering partner is in Italy; our operation partner is in Spain; and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things in those countries.

Texas Central said it anticipates its project will create more than 17,000 jobs during construction and have a multi-billion-dollar economic impact across the United States.

In the short term, though, it has laid off nearly 30 employees.

Virgin Gets Preliminary OK on California Bonds

September 24, 2019

A California agency has given Virgin Trains USA received preliminary approval to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance its Xpress West high speed rail project between Southern California and Las Vegas.

The Debt Limit Allocation Committee recommended that Virgin receive the first $300 million of its request, contingent on it providing an economic development plan that outlines its goals, and how it plans to achieve them, in the areas of housing, jobs, and workforce development.

Virgin Trains plans to seek more than $3.2 billion of tax-exempt debt to be issued by a state agency, including more than $800 million in California’s share of U.S. Department of Transportation tax-exempt proceeds.

The company also plans to seek $800,000 in bonds from Nevada, plus part of the federal allocation, providing a total of $4.2 billion in tax-exempt financing for the project.

A similar funding method was used to finance the Brightline service in Florida that Virgin operates.