CALIFORNIA- The State of California has approved a $600 million private activity bond for construction to begin on the $5 billion Virgin Trains-Brightline railway project that will transport passenger from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at speeds of up to 200 miles an hour. Project funding was was approved on April 14, 2020 by California Treasurer Fiona Ma.
Private activity bonds were created by the federal government for high-cost infrastructure projects that are tax-exempt and do not use public funds. They are issued for the purpose of providing special financing benefits for qualified projects. The financing is most often designated for projects of a private user and the government generally does not pledge its credit.
The bullet train will travel alongside Interstate 15 and take 90 minutes to travel between Las Vegas and Apple Valley. The currently planned Western terminal will arrive and depart from Victor Valley, California with an anticipated expansion to Los Angeles following after completion. Trains on the line will be run on pure electric energy.
The Virgin Trains-Brightline project is expected to create over 30,000 construction jobs during the 36 months of construction. Once construction is completed, 1,000 permanent jobs are expected to remain. Brightline operates the only privately owned U.S. passenger rail line currently connecting West Palm Beach to Miami.
Wall Street investor, Wes Edens, privately invested in the project. Edens purchased 300 acres in Apple Valley, California for the construction of a train station and parking structure. Construction on the project will commence later this year. Brightline anticipates to attract 10 million riders annually.