Virgin Trains USA, through its affiliate DesertXpress Enterprises LLC, has completed a lease agreement with the California DOT (Caltrans) for a right of way along Interstate 15 as part of its $4.8 billion, 170-mile XpressWest bullet train from Southern California to Las Vegas. DesertXpress will pay an $842,000 annual lease payment, adjustable every three years. This year's pro-rated rent is $561,336.
The lease agreement covers the 135-mile California portion of the privately funded project, which will see DesertXpress build the high-speed electric line, protected by barriers, in the median of I-15. DesertXpress will also operate and maintain the rail at its own expense. Xpress West service will take about 90 minutes one way.
Even though Caltrans will not pay for the construction or operation of the train, which will start at Apple Valley, California, near the town of Victorville, it will provide oversight and quality control to ensure that the design and construction meet state standards.
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