Monday, July 22, 2013

XpressWest vows to proceed, despite federal loan denial

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It was revealed last week that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) previously suspended its review of XpressWest's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) loan for a high-speed rail line between southern California and Las Vegas.

 

In a letter to XpressWest, former secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said the loan denial is a result of "no resolution to the threshold issues: and "significant uncertainties" surrounding the project. Trains manufactured for the project would not be "Buy America" compliant, which turned out to be a deal-breaker.

A statement on XpressWest's website said being "Buy America" compliant is not required of a RRIF loan, nor is it possible for its project saying "there is no high-speed train manufacturing base in the United States."

XpressWest stated July 12 that while the loan process for XpressWest has been suspended, "it is our understanding the project is still being reviewed. We believe high-speed rail in the western United States is both feasible and desired. We await further information and direction from the Administration."

On that same day, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid said, "I believe high-speed rail is an important aspect of Nevada and the country's future. In Las Vegas, I-15 to and from California is absolutely clogged and we must do everything we can to make it easy and safe for travelers to visit Las Vegas. But it's also vital we do this right. The Administration has not permanently foreclosed the possibility of such an investment and I remain committed to working with them and with Tony Marnell and XpressWest to secure this vital investment for Nevada."

XpressWest will continue its plans to develop the high-speed passenger rail system despite the loan denial and said all funds supplied by the USDOT will be used to purchase construction materials made in the United States and will be spent creating 80,000 American jobs to build and operate the project.

"We look forward to working with Anthony Foxx, the new United States secretary of transportation and our international partners to launch a new American industry," noted the the company. "XpressWest has already welcomed Mr. Foxx to his new position and is confident Mr. Foxx understands how to accomplish the goals mandated in the Administrations' vision for high-speed rail in America.

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