The awesome website Curbed L.A. posted an article yesterday, "Vegas High-Speed Rail Starts Planning Extension to Palmdale", this is very good news.
KCET also covers this story: "Desert High-Speed Rail Stays On Track: Groundbreaking Could be in a Year"
This Los Angeles to/from Las Vegas project is probably an easier High Speed Rail project to get off the ground than the also needed SoCal to/from NoCal project.
Some people believe the first LA-Vegas HSR route should have gone through the Cajon Pass, but I imagine it is more affordable to go through the high desert than plow through a mountain range. There is already Metrolink commuter rail service between Los Angeles and Palmdale. It wouldn't take much to electrify that portion to have a one-seat ride between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Another route can eventually be build between Vegas and the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego. Let's get ONE route up and running.
Also, having High Speed Rail to Palmdale, makes it more enticing for Northern California to connect as a San Francisco Bay Area to/from Las Vegas High Speed Rail route can hook in via Palmdale.
When you hear a politician talk about how we cannot "afford" high speed rail in America and other infrastructure improvements, ask them how is America supposed to compete and stay relevant in the global economy in the 21st Century if we don't, especially as the era of cheap oil is forever gone? What is the cost to our productivity if we can't and are forever dependent on oil to move goods and people?
However, before you do that, ask that politician how much campaign cash he is receiving from the oil lobby, which is desperate to stop ANY high speed rail project from being built in America and also contribute to ideological think tanks that "coincidentally" generate studies to show how we cannot "afford" high speed rail.
I will see you on the high speed train to Vegas!