Brightline West to break ground on Las Vegas high-speed rail project – Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Brightline West plans to break ground next week on its Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed train system.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will join Brightline founder Wes Edens and federal, state and local officials from Nevada and California on Monday at the planned Las Vegas station site for a ceremony kicking off construction on the 218-mile rail line.

It will be a major milestone in the project that has been talked about in various iterations for over a decade, with no action occurring over that span.

“This is the physical action that we’ve been waiting for, for decades, finally bringing high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Southern California,” said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, whose district includes the area where the Brightline station will be constructed. “It will boost our economy, provide efficient transportation alternatives and continue the success of all that we have worked for — both for the economic engine of Nevada and the people that live here.”

In December, President Joe Biden announced in Las Vegas $3 billion in federal funding for the project from the Bipartisan Infrastructure law.

Then earlier this year the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $2.5 billion in private activity bonding authority, bringing the total to $3.5 billion after $1 billion was approved in 2021. Private activity bonds are a debt instrument authorized by the DOT for highway or freight projects that allow a private company to benefit from tax exempt municipal bonds.

Buttigieg said at the time of the $2.5 billion bonding authority that the funds would allow Brightline to lay the tracks and create jobs in Nevada and California. Brightline will utilize debt and private capital to pay the remaining costs of the $12 billion rail system.

Brightline has been conducting field investigation work along Interstate 15 in Nevada and California the past few months ahead of construction on the rail line.

Plans call for stations in Las Vegas, to be located on Las Vegas Boulevard near Blue Diamond Road, and in California in the Hesperia/Apple Valley area and Rancho Cucamonga. From the Rancho Cucamonga station, riders can transfer to and from Los Angeles via the Metrolink.

The total trip between Las Vegas and L.A. would be 260 miles long, with an expected travel time of about three hours. Trains are expected to reach speeds of up to 200 mph on the fully electric system.

Brightline plans to have the system built and operating ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in L.A. Brightline already operates intercity passenger rail service in Florida, with several stations including in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

The project aims to benefit tourism, create thousands of jobs between construction and operating jobs, ease traffic congestion on I-15 and eliminate 400,000 tons of carbon pollution each year.

Contact Mick Akers at [email protected] or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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