Brightline West - Las Vegas to Victor Valley (formally XpressWest)
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the lead federal agency for the environmental review of the DesertXpress High-Speed Passenger Train project, which was rebranded as the XpressWest project in 2012, and rebranded again in 2022 as the Brightline West – Las Vegas to Victor Valley Project. The Las Vegas to Victor Valley project is proposed by the project sponsor, Brightline West, to provide reliable and safe passenger rail transportation along an approximate 200-mile corridor between Southern California (Victorville) and Las Vegas, Nevada, as an alternative to automobile or air travel.
The project would use proven high-speed rail technology and be constructed as a grade-separated, dedicated passenger-only railroad predominantly in the median of or immediately alongside Interstate 15 (I-15), adding transportation capacity to the freeway corridor.
FRA, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Surface Transportation Board (STB), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Park Service (NPS), prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in March 2009, a Supplemental DEIS in August 2010, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in March 2011, and a Record of Decision (ROD) in July 2011. FRA most recently completed a reevaluation of the FEIS and ROD in September 2020.
Since reinitiation of the Project in 2019, in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Section 106), FRA has conducted cultural resources inventory, evaluation of National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility of cultural resources, and assessment of effects caused by the undertaking to historic properties within the area of potential effects (APE). Those efforts have been documented in draft and final technical reports, communicated to Consulting Parties through letters and one-on-one meetings, and discussed in meetings of the Cultural Resources Working Group. FRA has received comments from Consulting Parties and considered those comments for revisions to technical reports and when making determinations of effects caused by the undertaking.
The nature of the Project’s anticipated design refinements requires a phased approach for ongoing compliance with Section 106, and the Project also requires a process for avoiding, minimizing, and/or mitigating adverse effects. As a result of these Project considerations, FRA intends to negotiate a Programmatic Agreement (PA) to govern the phased approach for ongoing compliance with Section 106 and implementation of the resolution of adverse effects. The draft PA establishes a process for future identification, evaluation, assessment of effects, and consultations if needed based on changes in the APE or an inadvertent discovery of NRHP eligible cultural resources. A draft Historic Properties Treatment Plan is included as one of the attachments to the draft PA.
View Section 106 Programmatic Agreement Documents:
Public Participation and Comments:
FRA is coordinating compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). FRA continues to encourage public participation throughout the development and evaluation of the Project. Public participation in the Section 106 of the NHPA process is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status.
The FRA website will continue to be updated periodically with project milestones, information about public meetings and other pertinent project information. The public comment period to review and provide comments on the draft PA and attachments will begin on Friday, December 16, 2022, and end on Friday, January 20, 2023. Comments may be submitted to the Regulations.gov Project webpage. All comments must be received by Friday, January 20, 2023. All comments received, including the name of the commenter, will become part of the public record and be considered by FRA. Thank you for your interest and participation in this important transportation project.
FRA has completed a reevaluation of the 2011 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) for the DesertXpress High-Speed Passenger Train Project. In January 2019, DesertXpress Enterprises, LLC submitted project modifications, including a refined alignment between Apple Valley and Las Vegas (with a greater proportion within the Interstate 15 [I-15] freeway median), modified station sites in Apple Valley and the Las Vegas area, and other changes to ancillary facilities. Based on the nature of the project modifications, FRA determined that a reevaluation was appropriate.
FRA’s Environmental Procedures provide that:
“If major steps toward implementation of the proposed action have not occurred within the time frame, if any, set forth in the final EIS, or within five years from the date of approval of the final EIS, a written reevaluation of the adequacy, accuracy, and validity of the final EIS shall be prepared, and a new or supplemental EIS prepared, if necessary.”
FRA in cooperation with BLM, STB, FHWA, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, with the added participation of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), analyzed whether changes in the environmental setting due to the passage of time or the proposed project modifications would result in new significant environmental impacts. This analysis is documented in the reevaluation.
View NEPA Reevaluation Documents:
- NEPA Decision Memo Final: September 9, 2020
- Cover Page & Table of Contents
- XpressWest Reevaluation Summary
- Attachment A: Summary of Project Modifications
- Attachment B: Resource Impacts Analysis Report
- Attachment C: Traffic and Transportation Technical Report
- Attachment D: Cultural Resources Technical Report
- Attachment E: Hydrology and Water Quality Technical Report
- Attachment F: Air Quality Technical Report
- Attachment G: Noise and Vibration Technical Report
- Attachment H: Biological Resources Technical Report
- Attachment I: Mitigation Measure Summary
Record of Decision
FRA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on the DesertXpress High-Speed Passenger Train project on July 8, 2011. The ROD summarizes the environmental review process FRA conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts. The ROD identifies the alternatives considered by FRA, addresses comments received during the NEPA process, and identifies the Selected Alternative. The ROD also includes a list of all measures to avoid and minimize environmental harm, including a monitoring and enforcement program to ensure adherence to these measures. Finally, the ROD presents the FRA decision, determinations, and findings regarding the Project, and identifies the factors that FRA considered in making its decision.
View the Record of Decision:
- FRA Record of Decision
- Appendix A: Mitigation and Commitments
- Appendix B: Husing Review
- Appendix C: Final EIS Comments and Responses
- Appendix D: Biological Opinion
Final Environmental Impact Statement
The FEIS addresses any changes to the DesertXpress project DEIS and Supplemental DEIS as a result of public or agency comments. This FEIS also provides an evaluation of the environmental effects of the “Preferred Alternative,” which was selected by the Lead and Cooperating Agencies from the range of Action Alternatives presented in the DEIS and Supplemental DEIS. The “Preferred Alternative” is the option/alternative that the Lead and Cooperating Agencies believe would best fulfill each agency’s statutory mission and responsibilities, in consideration with economic, environmental, and technical factors.
The Preferred Alternative rail alignment would be almost entirely located within the existing I-15 corridor, with tracks running alongside freeway travel lanes. The Preferred Alternative also specifies station and maintenance facility sites and identifies Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) as the locomotive technology. The Final EIS compares the environmental effects of the Preferred Alternative to the other Action Alternatives and the No Build Alternative. Mitigation measures for the Preferred Alternative are included to reduce or eliminate adverse environmental effects of the Preferred Alternative.
View the Final Environmental Impact Statement:
- FEIS TOC and Executive Summary
- FEIS Chapter 1
- FEIS Chapter 2
- FEIS Chapter 3
- FEIS Chapter 4
- FEIS Chapter 5
- FEIS Chapter 6
Volume II (Appendices)
- Appendix F-A Summary Reports for the Draft EIS and Supplemental Draft EIS Public Hearings
- Appendix F-B Highway Interface Manual
- Appendix F-C Plan and Profile Drawings of the Preferred Alternative
- Appendix F-D Ridership Forecast Review
- Appendix F-E Barstow Study – Economic Impact of DesertXpress
- Appendix F-F Predicted Employment and Economic Impact Analysis
- Appendix F-G Traffic Impact Analysis for the DesertXpress Project and Supplemental Traffic Impact Analysis for Victorville Station Site 3 (VV3)
- Appendix F-H Programmatic Agreement under Section 106
- Appendix F-I Jurisdictional Delineation Reports
- Appendix F-J Preliminary Geotechnical Evaluation
- Appendix F-K Properties of Hazardous Materials Concern
- Appendix F-L Regional Emission Calculation Worksheets
- Appendix F-M Biological Assessment
- Appendix F-N Special-Status Plant Survey Report for the Proposed Segment 4C Alignment
- Appendix F-O Mojave Ground Squirrel Habitat Assessment
- Appendix F-P Vegetation Mapping Surveys
- Appendix F-Q Special-Status Plant and Wildlife Species
Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Following the publication of the DEIS for the Project, the Applicant proposed several Project modifications and additions to address substantive comments received during public and agency review of the DEIS and to reduce or avoid significant environmental effects. The Supplemental DEIS and Draft 4(f) Evaluation identifies and analyzes the potential environmental impacts (both beneficial and adverse) that could occur to a range of environmental resources as a result of the proposed Project modifications and additions. The DEIS comment period closed on October 18, 2010. The DEIS was made available to the public in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act including two public hearings.
View the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
- SDEIS TOC and Executive Summary
- SDEIS Chapter 1
- SDEIS Chapter 2
- SDEIS Chapter 3
- SDEIS Chapter 4
- SDEIS Chapter 5
Volume II (Appendices)
- Appendix S-A-1 Segment 2C Side Running and Median Options
- Appendix S-A-2 Segment 4C
- Appendix S-A-3 Relocated Sloan MSF Site
- Appendix S-A-4 Wigwam Avenue MSF Modification
- Appendix S-B VV3 Supplemental TIA
- Appendix S-C Supplemental Hazardous Materials Reports for Frias Substation
- Appendix S-D Noise and Vibration Analysis
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The DEIS identifies and analyzes the potential environmental impacts (both beneficial and adverse) that could occur to a range of environmental resources as a result of the construction and operation of the project alternatives. At this time, the federal agencies have not identified a preferred alternative.
The DEIS comment period closed on May 22, 2009. The DEIS was made available to the public in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act including three public hearings. DEIS web files have a lower resolution graphics for easier download and the maps with greatest detail are in Appendix A.
View the Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
- DEIS Volume I Complete
- DEIS TOC and Executive Summary
- DEIS Chapter 1
- DEIS Chapter 2
- DEIS Chapter 3
- DEIS Chapter 4
- DEIS Chapter 5
Volume II (Appendices)
- View the Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS.