High-speed LA/Las Vegas train to be delayed two years as Nevada legislature fails to approve tax abatements

Construction on a high-speed train line between Southern California and Las Vegas will likely be delayed two years after the project failed to secure tax abatements in Nevada, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reports.

Virgin Trains USA had planned to start next year building the $4 billion dual tracks running 185 miles (298 kilometres) along the Interstate 15 corridor/

The company, formerly named Brightline, was partial abatement of state sales and property taxes, but talks with state lawmakers did not progress far enough to get into specific figures, the newspaper quoted Bob O’Malley, the company’s vice-president of government affairs, as saying.

“If we had been able to do something this session, we were ready to start construction in 2020,” O’Malley said.

The company will return to the legislature in 2021, in the state’s next biannual session, to seek the abatements again.

The project is being financed entirely by private investment, so the company is not looking for tax credits or state grants, O’Malley said. It is looking for a similar deal it acquired in Florida, where it built a rail system serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

“Like Nevada, high-speed rail was an unfulfilled dream in Florida for decades,” O’Malley said. “Florida leaders encouraged private investment in high-speed rail, and as a result the state is now reaping the benefits of billions of dollars in privately funded infrastructure, thousands of good-paying jobs, improved mobility for its residents, and positive environmental impacts.”


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