A Las Vegas-LA electric high-speed rail line just got $3B to break ground

Brightline West, a future electric high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, is being awarded $3 billion by the Biden administration.

The $3 billion in funding, part of $6 billion previously earmarked for high-speed rail, has come from the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as part of its Federal-State Partnership Program. (The other $3 billion will go to the public high-speed Los Angeles to San Francisco rail project.)

Brightline West will be a privately owned, 218-mile, all-electric high-speed rail service that will include a flagship station in Las Vegas (pictured above), with additional stations in Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Rancho Cucamonga. At speeds of more than 186 miles per hour, trains will take passengers from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, which is 37 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, in just 2 hours and 10 minutes – twice as fast as the normal drive time. 

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) said, “This historic high-speed rail project will be a game changer for Nevada’s tourism economy and transportation. It’ll bring more visitors to our state, reduce traffic on the I-15, create thousands of good paying jobs, and decrease carbon emissions, all while relying on local union labor.”

Florida-based Brightline Holdings is expected to model the Las Vegas-LA rail line on its high-speed route between Miami and Orlando – the US’s only privately owned and operated intercity passenger railroad.

Brightline West estimates it will remove 3 million cars from I-15 annually, reducing over 400,000 tons of carbon emissions per year. It also anticipates creating an astounding 35,000 union jobs. The federal funding will enable the project, which is aiming to open by 2028, to begin construction.

Rick Harnish, executive director of the national nonprofit High Speed Rail Alliance, said:

Getting a high-speed line in operation this decade will show Americans what this transformative technology can do. Much as the US did for the Interstate Highway System, it’s urgent to establish a federal rail program to plan and support states in developing fast, frequent, affordable train service throughout the country.

Brightline West’s federal funding award will be formally announced on Friday at an event in Las Vegas.

Read more: The US’s busiest rail corridor just got a $16.4B boost – why that’s huge

Photos: Brightline West

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