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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A plan to build a high-speed train between Southern California and Las Vegas got a boost Tuesday after the rail company in charge of the project received permission to build along Interstate 15.

XpressWest entered into a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation to construct the rail line on I-15's median, Caltrans announced in a news release.

Approximately 135 miles (217 kilometers) of the 170-mile (274-kilometer) rail system will be in California.

The project will be privately financed and will cost about $7 billion, according to 2018 estimates.

It expects to first complete a link between Las Vegas and Victorville, California, with plans to eventually extend the line another 80 miles (130 kilometers) to Los Angeles.

The project stalled several times over the past decade, mostly over financing.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Death toll from flooding in Japan rises to 50, dozen missing

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s disaster management agency says the death toll from recent flooding has risen to 50 and at least a dozen others are still missing.

Pounding rain since late Friday in Japan’s southern region of Kyushu has triggered widespread flooding.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 49 of the dead confirmed as of Tuesday morning were from riverside towns in the Kumamoto region. One person was found dead in Fukuoka as the heavy rain spread across the southern area. At least a dozen people are missing.

Rescue operations have been hampered by the floodwater and continuing harsh weather.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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