Tina Quigley, Virgin Trains’ vice-president of business strategy, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that work will begin in California, where the bulk of the rail line will be located.
“They’ll probably start in about five different areas when construction starts,” Quigley said. “Those five areas will probably be in California.”
Construction work can’t start until the “record of decision” is received by the Federal Railroad Administration, Nevada state Department of Business director Terry Reynolds told the newspaper. “They (Virgin Trains) expect to receive their record of decision from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration in August,” Reynolds said.
Virgin plans to secure equipment and materials for the project ahead of time to be ready to begin construction soon as that occurs, he said.
Early designs call for the majority of the tracks to run between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 15 through southern California. Then the route would shift to the east side of I-15 once the track reaches the Nevada border.
There won’t be level crossings — track swill ether go under or over highway interchanges, Quigley said.
Virgin needs to secure bond approvals in both California and Nevada, with m$950 million in total private activity bonds in Nevada, including $200 million in bonds from the state’s debt limit allocation — which would allow Virgin to market $800 million in bonds — and $150 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s bond program, the published report says.
Reynolds said the matter could be up for approval as early as the January Department of Business meeting, but more likely will come up at the February meeting. California approved a $3.25 billion bond request last month to support the project.