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The US Transportation Department is set to grant $3 billion to the “Brightline West” high-speed rail project, connecting Las Vegas to Southern California, with completion targeted before the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The project, spanning 218 miles and featuring trains running at least 186 miles per hour, aims to offer a travel time of approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen praised the project’s potential impact, stating, “This historic high-speed rail project will be a game changer for Nevada’s tourism economy and transportation.”
The funding, part of the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law, is part of a larger $8.2 billion rail award to be announced by the White House on Friday. The Federal Railroad Administration highlighted the project’s role in providing a competitive alternative to automobile travel on Interstate 15 and its connectivity to the Los Angeles Metro area. Brightline West estimates the rail service could remove 3 million cars from I-15 annually. “A historic moment that will serve as a foundation for a new industry,” commented Wes Edens, Brightline’s founder and chairman, on the significance of the award.
This investment follows other larger projects promoting passenger rail projects in the United States. One project between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, is expected to receive a $1 billion grant, as indicated by Senator Thom Tillis. This addition aims to enhance connectivity between North Carolina and Washington DC.
In the 2021 infrastructure bill, $66 billion was set aside for US rail infrastructure projects, with significant portions designated for Amtrak and competitive grants. Other major projects include California’s request for additional funding for its Los Angeles-San Francisco high-speed rail and the recent $3.8 billion award for a railway tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.