A transportation expert and a UNLV professor want to leverage Las Vegas’ potential as a high-speed rail transportation hub to develop a university program dedicated to the research and study of high-speed rail.
Tom Skancke, a public affairs consultant and president and CEO of the Skancke Company, and Harry Teng, an associate professor at UNLV’s Howard Hughes College of Engineering, plan to take their proposal — which they have been refining for almost two years — to university administrators early next year. They hope to affiliate what they tentatively are calling the International High Speed Rail Institute with UNLV’s engineering school.
Skancke and Teng say the cost of establishing the institute would depend on how elaborate it is, but Skancke said he expects it would cost between $650,000 and $900,000 initially.
They plan to approach industry leaders to form an advisory board to guide them on raising the money.
Las Vegas could become the West’s high-speed rail center if a proposed XpressWestproject comes to fruition. Developers want to link Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a high-speed train that would travel through Victorville and Palmdale, Calif.
“I still think we’re going to be the first in the country to have high-speed rail,” Skancke said in a recent interview with VEGAS INC, the Sun’s sister publication. “If we’re going to have high-speed rail in this country, I think the research, the education, the student exchange programs and the faculty exchange programs should be done here in the West because we’re the pioneers on this.”
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