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Hofbauer, Purtee visit Sacramento rail confab

Merdies Hayes | 8/23/2019, midnight

Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer and City Manager James Purtee traveled recently to the State Capitol in Sacramento to provide testimony and offer support at the TEFRA (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act) hearing. They met there to learn more about the infrastructure development bonds for the Virgin/Brightline trains that could conceivably provide high speed rail service from Las Vegas to Victortville and Palmdale.

Also present were representatives from Victorville, Apple Valley, La Metro, SanBag (San Barnardino Association of Governments), and the offices of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood.

“Both the executive director of the bank and the bond manager hearing officer commented that they couldn’t remember a hearing with such a large show of support, Hoffbauer said. “Everyone realizes the magnitude and importance of this project to the long-term economic and quality-of-life future of our region.”

Brightline, based in Florida, is a private passenger rail company. Last fall it acquired ExpressWest, the high-speed rail project with an approved corridor between Las Vegas and Victorville, with plans to continue to Palmdale. In November, it was announced that the internationally known Virgin Group had partnered with Brightline and rebranded the project as part of Virgin Trains USA.

Hoffbauer and Purtee visited the Seimens rail car plan in Sacramento. The company employs a reported 1,500 people at its manufacturing plant.

“It was fascinating to follow the light rail and heavy rail equipment through the various fabrication and assembly processes,” Hoffbauer said.