The federal Department of Transportation reviewed the environmental impacts of the rail project that would run from Victorville to Las Vegas.
They gave developers of the DesertXpress the green light to proceed. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada announced the decision in a statement Tuesday.
The project is anticipated to create tens of thousands of jobs. A report from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas estimates the rail line would create more than 17,000 direct jobs and more than 16,000 indirect jobs in Clark County over a three-year period.
Developers hope to eventually connect it to California's planned high speed rail system. About one-quarter of visitors to Las Vegas come from Southern California.
The Associated Press contributed to this story