Las Vegas — XpressWest terminated its joint venture activities with China Railway International USA, Co., Ltd (CRI) regarding high-speed passenger rail. In September 2015, XpressWest and CRI commenced joint venture activities intended to advance the substantial work already completed by XpressWest. After an exhaustive process, XpressWest selected CRI to assist develop, finance, build and potentially operate the XpressWest rail project connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles (the Southwest Rail Network), with stations in Las Vegas; Victorville, Calif.; and Palmdale, Calif., and service throughout Los Angeles. The decision to terminate the relationship was based primarily on difficulties associated with timely performance and CRI’s challenges in obtaining required authority to proceed with required development activities.
“The team at XpressWest is optimistic CRI and its affiliates will one-day succeed in establishing a viable presence in the United States rail market, however, our ambitions outpace CRI’s ability to move the project forward timely and efficiently. XpressWest is undeterred by this development and remains dedicated to completing its high-speed passenger rail project. XpressWest will now aggressively pursue other available development partnerships and options expected to result in a more efficient and cost-effective project implementation experience,” said Tony Marnell, CEO of XpressWest.
XpressWest is eagerly anticipating the completion of the final environmental work required for the development of the line connecting the project to Los Angeles through Victorville and Palmdale, Calif. The environmental approvals for the Victorville-Palmdale segment are expected no later than September 2016. Additionally, XpressWest, the High Desert Corridor Joint Power Authority, California High Speed Rail Authority, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are also expecting the completion of the jointly-funded Southwest Rail Network ridership study no later than August 2016. The ridership study is a prerequisite for a variety of regulatory and financing activities.
XpressWest is dedicated to completing all necessary activities to complete its high-speed passenger rail project.
“Our biggest challenge continues to be the Federal Government’s requirement that high-speed trains must be manufactured in the United States. As everyone knows, there are no high-speed trains manufactured in the United States. This inflexible requirement has been a fundamental barrier to financing high-speed rail in our country. For the past 10 years, we have patiently waited for policy makers to recognize high-speed rail in the United States is a new enterprise and that allowing trains from countries with decades of safe high-speed rail experience is needed to connect the Southwest region and start this new industry. After the environmental work connecting Palmdale to Victorville is completed, we intend to renew our request for support from the Federal Railroad Administration and are hopeful policy makers in Washington D.C. will allow the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt a more flexible and realistic approach to support high-speed rail. The bottom line is XpressWest is ready to go and we are excited to bring true high-speed rail to our country. The real question is: do those in Washington D.C. have the courage and vision to proceed or is our leadership going to force projects throughout the United States to seek financial support for infrastructure in our Country from foreign governments?”