California-Las Vegas High-Speed Train

The federal government is giving $3 billion to Brightline, the only private intercity passenger railroad in the country, to help build a $12 billion high-speed railway between Las Vegas and Southern California. This is an almost unheard-of amount of federal money for a private project, but it will help make trains go 186 mph on U.S. tracks by 2028.

Two U.S. senators from Nevada said Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Transportation grant will help move the 218-mile route between Las Vegas and the suburbs of Los Angeles forward. The Brightline West project is one of the most important ones in the U.S., making it more likely that we will have a high-speed train system.

Land is available for Brightline, and the company has labour agreements and government reviews. Leaders of the company say it could be built in four years. Industry leaders and transportation officials say it has a good chance of succeeding because Washington is paying more attention to rail again, and the federal government is spending more than ever on a national train network behind the rest of the world.

In a statement, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said, “Building a high-speed rail link between Las Vegas and Southern California will create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs, boost our Southern Nevada tourism economy, and finally help us cut down on I-15 traffic.” Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) called the project a “game changer” and said that the government’s money was very important for making it happen.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

In April, Brightline and the Nevada Department of Transportation applied for a $3.75 billion government grant under the federal infrastructure law. The application was 4,000 pages long. Even though the award is less than what was asked for, it is still one of the largest amounts of government money ever given to a privately developed transportation project in the U.S. It also gives Brightline a big boost to start building in the coming months.

One of Brightline’s founders and chairman, Wes Edens, said in a statement, “We’re honoured and humbled by the trust that President Biden, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg, Senator Rosen, and so many others have placed in our vision to bring true high-speed rail to America.” “This historic moment will lay the groundwork for a new industry. This is also an amazing project that will show us how to make this model work nationwide.”

Brightline West got a $25 million government grant in June to help pay for the planning and building of two stations in California. Officials said the federal grant revealed Tuesday would cover about a third of the project’s cost. The rest of the money would come from private investors and tax-free debt called private activity bonds. Officials from the company said they needed government money to start building the project.

California-Las Vegas High-Speed Train

It is expected to cost $12 billion to build the 265-mile electric rail link between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga. From there, a commuter train would connect to downtown Los Angeles. This is three times the amount that was originally planned in the mid-2000s. In 2005, Las Vegas businessman Tony Marnell II proposed a bullet train connecting the city’s casinos with Victorville, 85 miles from downtown Los Angeles. This was the idea’s start for a line between Las Vegas and Southern California.

When Brightline bought the project in 2018, it gave people new hope for the struggling line. Since then, the company has bought land for four stops and the right of way to build high-speed tracks in the middle of Interstate 15.

Along the middle of the freeway, the rail line would take people from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga in two hours and ten minutes in trains that could go as fast as 186 mph. People who support the system say it would eliminate about 3 million cars from the roads, create 35,000 jobs, and bring more tourists to the area between Nevada and California.

Edens, a billionaire co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, which owns Brightline, said this summer that the project would be “the real embodiment of what high-speed rail can and should look like” in the United States and the first of many systems across the country. He said on Tuesday that the company is ready to start working on “our vision of American-made, American-built, world-class, state-of-the-art high-speed train travel to America.” Brightline wants to open the line around the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Supporters of high-speed trains were happy to hear the news and called the money an “epochal investment” for the country. Andy Kunz, president and CEO of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Association, said, “The tide has turned for high-speed rail in America.” His words show that the US is taking a big step toward competing with 26 other countries with fast, clean, and safe high-speed trains.

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Another high-speed project still being worked on is a 500-mile system between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This project has been delayed and cost more than planned. A 119-mile section is being built, and a 171-mile piece connecting Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield is expected to open between 2030 and 2033. At the same time, high-speed projects are moving forward in the Pacific Northwest and Texas, and Amtrak wants to grow in the biggest way it has in 52 years.

Brightline is the only private passenger train in the US that runs between cities. This year, it added service to Orlando, Florida, making the trip between Orlando and Miami in just over three hours. This is one of only a few intercity train connections at a big airport terminal. It took a lot of money to build that.

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