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All Aboard! DesertXpress From SoCal to Vegas Gets OK from Bureau of Land Management

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The Desert Xpress — a proposed high-speed rail that would zip between SoCal and Las Vegas on that sometimes-unbearable stretch of the I-15 — has been given the OK from the Bureau of Land Management.

As expected, the federal agency gave its approval since most of the rail parallels the I-15 and utility lines that are already messing up that part of the desert. (You can find public commentary here.)

Construction is estimated to begin in early 2012. The Federal Railroad Administration estimates that the project uses 821 acres of public land for the rail, plus an extra 95 acres for the construction. The project also includes about 2,800 acres of private land. The administration estimates the project will bring 45,000 construction jobs and 722 permanent jobs once the rail is up and running.

Yeah, the project doesn't actually go to Los Angeles, and it means that Angelenos trying to catch the train might be spending more time in Victorville than they ever expected to. But the fact that it doesn't go through the San Gabriels or very much inhabited land at all is probably why its costs are so cheap. It is estimated that the 190 miles will cost $6.5 billion dollars, which puts it in roughly the same ballpark as the Westside Subway extension. Desert Xpress believes that SoCalians will be willing to buy a ticket to bypass 190 miles of traffic in 80 minutes.