The U.S. DOT announced this week that it is postponing any further consideration of a $5 billion loan application for a proposed high-speed rail project that would link Southern California and Las Vegas. The department cited an insufficient number of American manufacturers for rail tracks and cars as the impetus for its decision.
As proposed, the XpressWest project would have created a 180-mile high-speed rail route between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif. Victorville was chosen because it would serve as a connection point between XpressWest and the proposed high-speed rail line between Southern California and the Bay Area.
Both projects, however, must adhere to a “Made in the U.S.” standard for all of their manufacturing needs, a factor that ultimately pushed U.S. DOT to shelve the project for the time being.
Support for XpressWest has not been universal either. The cities of Barstow and Ontario, Calif., both voiced opposition to the project in the early stages—Barstow was concerned about getting bypassed by the new line and missing increased economic opportunities; residents of Ontario have previously voiced their preference for a mag-lev train.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid stated that the decision does not cancel the project permanently and that it may still be revisited in the future.