Energy Media Group broke the story today about our long time friend, advocate and investor Gary Tharaldson securing a major deal with the Chinese today to build a high bullet train from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. This has been a vision that Gary has had for many years. We are so proud of his dedication to North Dakota and all the the amazing business success he has had over the years. Great work Gary and THANK YOU!
Vegas to LA in 80 mins: High-speed rail brainchild of ND billionaire Gary Tharaldson.

On Thursday Chinese officials announced that a long-discussed high-speed rail project linking Las Vegas and Southern California will be built by a U.S.-China joint venture, reports the LA Times.

The project will be supported by $100 million in initial capital, financed in part by Energy Media Group investor and North Dakota real estate mogul Gary Tharaldson. To accelerate the launch of the rail project, XpressWest and China Railway International USA Co. have entered into an agreement to construct the “Southwest Rail Network.”

The project, in discussion since 2007, will consist of a 230-mile high-speed rail running from Las Vegas, Nevada to Victorville, California, 85 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Although details of the project’s cost and completion weren’t specified, Chinese news agencies and the 21st Century Business Herald reported the project will cost approximately $12.7 billion and will take up to three years, according to Quartz.

The announcement comes just days ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States. At a news conference in Beijing, China Railway Group Deputy Chief Engineer Yang Zhongmin said, “This is the first high-speed railway project where China and the U.S. will have systematic cooperation. It shows the advancement of China-made high-speed railways.”

The project will serve as a model of international cooperation and will firmly establish the high-speed rail industry in the U.S. by creating a significant number of jobs throughout the Southwest region as construction is slated to begin as soon as September 2016. All necessary regulatory and commercial activities to advance the project will begin immediately, and implementation will begin with the next 100 days.

XpressWest is a privately owned company, while China Railway International USA’s ownership consists of a consortium of subsidiaries from Chinese state firms, including China Railway Group and China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation. “As China’s first high-speed railway project in the United States, the project will be a landmark in overseas investment for the Chinese railway sector and serve as a model of international cooperation,” Zhongmin told Xinhua news.

The train is anticipated to transport passengers between Las Vegas and Victorville in 80 minutes and fares will be set at $89.