Due to the rapid growth of the Las Vegas area in recent years, Clark County has planned the construction of a new international airport, called the Ivanpah Valley Airport, thirty miles south of Las Vegas between Jean and Primm. The airport currently serving the Las Vegas area, McCarran International Airport, is one of the busiest in the United States.
Over fifty million passengers a year pass through McCarran's gates, serving both visitors and Southern Nevada residents alike. It has only limited space left for expansion. The Las Vegas area is expected to add over 30,000 new hotel rooms over the next four to five years. This additional influx of visitors and growth of the area require increased airport capacity.
To allow for the continued growth of air travel in Southern Nevada, Clark County has bought approximately 6,000 acres of land from the Bureau of Land Management. The Ivanpah Valley site was chosen for airport expansion as it has good terrain for flight and terminal facilities, available land, and good access.
The location is just off Interstate 15, SR 604 and the rail line for the Union Pacific Railroad also passes through the area. Pending environmental impact statements, construction of the airport is expected to begin by 2011, with a targeted completion date by 2018.
As part of the new airport construction, high–speed rail service is in the planning stages between Primm and Las Vegas, and Southern California. Due to the thirty–mile distance between the proposed airport and Las Vegas and the current lack of passenger rail service in the area, high–speed rail would be highly beneficial for the new airport.
The California–Nevada Interstate Maglev project is proposing the construction of a 269–mile train line from Las Vegas to Anaheim, California, which would run through Primm and the new airport. The project could expand well beyond Vegas with plans to extend the line to Salt Lake, Denver, and Phoenix.
In 2005, $45 million dollars was appropriated for the planning phase of first forty–mile segment of the train line from Las Vegas to Primm.
The top speed of this train would be over 300 miles per hour. Several other rail options are being considered as the total cost of the California–Nevada Interstate Maglev project could exceed $40 billion.
The proposed Ivanpah Valley Airport undoubtedly enhance Primm's status as a major destination between Southern California and Las Vegas. If construction moves forward, it would bring tremendous growth to the area in the coming years.