Thursday, July 11, 2013, by Eve Bachrach
The latest plans for the High Desert Corridor–a freeway/rail/bike path/green energy project linking Palmdale to Apple Valley in San Bernadino County–were unveiled yesterday, with several options for the 63-mile project to be discussed at a series of public hearings this month. The options include a freeway-only version, but our friends at Streetsblog are particularly excited about how the rail option has evolved. As they explain, one option “would run a rail line in the median of the new freeway that could serve Metrolink, a new ‘High Desert Corridor’ specialty service, California High Speed Rail (CAHSR) trains or Xpress,” the privately-funded high-speed rail line to Las Vegas.
Since CAHSR is due to run to Palmdale and Xpress only to Victorville, this new rail line could link the two stations, making it possible (theoretically, anyway) to travel from Downtown LA or San Francisco to Las Vegas on one high-speed rail line. “Theoretically” is key here: the project is funded only through the environmental review process. Preliminary costs to build the whole thing run to $5 billion, and a best-case scenario puts work beginning in 2016, according to the Daily News. It will likely require private investment to make it all feasible, so to sweeten the pot, a money-making tollway is also an option.