Government Study Puts DesertXpress, California-Nevada High Speed Train, on the Fast Track

Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:54pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Public Hearings Scheduled for First-Ever Privately Funded Environmental Impact
Statement for High Speed Rail in the United States 
LAS VEGAS--(Business Wire)--
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) signed by the Federal Railroad
Administration on March 18th represents a major milestone for the nation`s first
dedicated high speed passenger rail system. The project, being developed by
DesertXpress Enterprises, LLC, will connect Las Vegas to Southern California and
could break ground by early next year, according to Tony Marnell, Chairman/CEO
of Marnell Consulting, LLC, which is an investor in DesertXpress Enterprises,
LLC. 

Operating at speeds of up to 150 mph on exclusive tracks along Interstate 15,
DesertXpress trains will make the 180-mile trip between Las Vegas and
Victorville, California in an hour and twenty minutes. According to the EIS,
DesertXpress is forecasted to carry over 10 million people per year by 2015 and
over 16 million people by 2030. Ultimately, the system will have a capacity of
more than 60 million people per year. 

"This project will provide significant benefits to both California and Nevada
and is coming on line at the perfect time, with the government recognizing the
need to find viable, alternative solutions for cleaner and more efficient modes
of transportation," said Marnell. 

During the last six years, DesertXpress Enterprises has invested over $25
million in private funding to complete all the work necessary for the EIS. "This
investment has positioned the project to serve as a significant contributor to
the economic vitality of California and Nevada. During the build-out period of
approximately four years, the project will create thousands of jobs and a
multi-billion dollar positive economic impact for both states," said Sig Rogich,
President of Rogich Communications Group, a partner and spokesman for
DesertXpress Enterprises. 

"The project is estimated to reduce up to 360 million pounds of CO2 emissions in
the Interstate 15 corridor by greatly reducing automobile travel and replacing
it with energy-efficient mass transportation in one of America`s most congested
transportation corridors," Rogich said. 

"Going forward, we think this project can be the model for other similar
projects throughout America, demonstrating how private enterprise can partner
with government to develop solutions that fulfill needs that may otherwise not
be feasible in today`s economy," Marnell said. 

According to an independent study prepared for the Southern California Logistics
Rail Authority by BSL Management Consultants of the Lloyd`s Register Group,
considered a leader in transportation studies in the European Union and
worldwide, the DesertXpress project "is clearly the most practical and viable
alternative for the corridor," compared with the CA-NV Maglev alternative. The
study further states that high speed rail will provide "reasonable high speed at
a much lower cost." Additionally, from a planning and timing perspective, in
contrast to the DesertXpress solution, the CA-NV Maglev project is depending
entirely upon federal funding just to be able to begin the EIS process that the
DesertXpress project has just completed after six years of privately funded
work. More detailed information on the BSL Management study is available by
visiting www.victorvillecity.com/documents/bslreport.pdf. 

"Maglev has been a thirty-year study of a system that only operates in one other
area in the world, which is Shanghai. And we believe the reason it hasn`t been
further developed in other parts of the world is that according to the BSL
Study, the latest cost estimates by public authorities in Germany and the United
States put the cost of construction for a Maglev line in the range of $60
million to $199 million per mile - which would bring the cost of the proposed
260-mile Maglev line to US $16 billion to $52 billion - making it the most
costly transportation project in U.S. history. On the other hand, the
DesertXpress project is estimated to cost from $3.5 to $4 billion, and high
speed rail lines are a proven commodity and are successfully operating all over
Europe and other parts of the world," said Rogich. 

This first phase to Victorville will be designed to allow DesertXpress to extend
its service to the voter-approved California High Speed Rail System link to
Palmdale, which is situated approximately 50 miles from the Victorville station.
DesertXpress officials said that by designing the system to share existing
transportation corridors, primarily Interstate 15, it avoids environmental and
community impacts in the highly traveled corridor between Nevada and Southern
California. 

"The concept of shared transportation corridors maximizes the people-carrying
capacity of the freeway right-of-way without the enormous expense and
overwhelming environmental impact of adding freeway lanes," Marnell said. "The
majority of travelers who use DesertXpress will represent a major shift in the
American mode of transportation. By replacing private automobile travel with
energy-efficient, environmentally friendly public transportation, Americans will
make a strong statement about the nation`s travel trends, environmental concerns
and energy challenges." 

The Draft EIS for this project was the result of the collaboration of several
professionals at the local, state and federal levels, including the Federal
Railroad Administration, Surface Transportation Board, Bureau of Land
Management, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, Nevada
Department of Transportation, Caltrans, and other state and local agencies. 

The public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, 2009 in Las Vegas,
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 in Barstow and Thursday, April 30, 2009 in
Victorville. 

For more information, please contact The Rogich Communications Group (702)
796-1773 or visit www.desertxpress.com. 

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The Rogich Communications Group
Lee Haney or Rachel Wilkinson, 702-796-1773
lee@lasvegaspr.com
rachel@lasvegaspr.com

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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