High-Speed Train Coming to Vegas?

A high-speed rail project that is aiming to connect Las Vegas to Southern California is looking to raise revenue to being construction. Brightline West is hoping to raise revenue by issuing bonds worth more than $3.2 billion.

The total cost of the project is approximately $8 billion, and Brightline West believes that it can cover the remaining cost after issuing the bonds. It is unclear what the interest rate on these bonds will be, as that information was not disclosed in the official announcement.

Brightline West is the fourth name for this rail development initially introduced in 2005. DesertXpress was the first name of the project, and it was also changed to XPressWest, and Virgin Trains USA.

The goal of the project is to eventually connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California, but the first stop will be in Victor Valley, CA. The rail would cover a distance of 170 miles, but at a high-speed rate that would allow tourists to travel back and forth at in about 85 minutes.

Brightline is a fixture in the train industry as it already operates a train service that runs from Orlando to Miami. If and when the Vegas to L.A. rail is completed, the approximate 90 minutes travel time would be around two hours faster than driving.

Ground-breaking is hopeful for late 2020, but only if all of the bonds are bought out. The train station will not begin to be built until 2023, so this new form of travel is still more than a few years away.

Sin City Looking For Revenue

The gaming industry and the entire state of Nevada would receive a huge boost in revenue if this high-speed rail were to be completed. This money could help rejuvenate the economy after it was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority determined that 18 percent of all visitors come from the southern part of California. A new high-speed rail would likely increase these numbers significantly.

Brightline estimates that there are close to 50 million trips between Southern California and Las Vegas each year, which proves the need for a new mode of transportation. Brightline rails will be able to travel up to 200 miles per hour, and they produce zero emission, which is helpful to the environment.

MGM Resorts Unveils New COVID-19 Testing Plan

Also in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts recently announced a new plan to hopefully get tourists back in its casinos. The “Convene With Confidence” Plan centers on rapid COVID-19 testing that will be able to produce results within 20 minutes.

MGM Resorts is not only looking to get customers back in the casinos, but it is hoping to host large meetings and exhibits at its property. Las Vegas has seen a number of conventions cancelled during the pandemic, and MGM is looking to bring these events back to the city.

In 2019, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that more than $6.6 million people traveled to Las Vegas to attend a meeting or convention. That was almost a three percent increase from the number of visitors in 2018.

Those numbers are down significantly in 2020, but MGM is hoping that this new partnership with Impact Health will turn things around. CLEAR is also working with MGM Resorts to help power the Health Pass app that allows visitors to fill out a health and safety questionnaire on their smartphones.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.