Birghtline West Wins $2.5b in DOT Rail Bonds

The bullet train to Vegas is becoming a reality.

Source : Phillip Pessar, Flickr

May 7, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

What happens in Vegas, will now no longer remain in Vegas! The Brightline West rail project estimated at a cost of $12 billion has received a major financial boost. The USDOT has approved $2.5 billion in bonds to fund the high-speed railway connecting Las Vegas, Nevada and Rancho Cucamonga in South California.

This will be a 218-mile passenger railway line, and trains would be traveling at a speed of 186 mph, and covering the entire distance in 2 hours and 10 minutes. The tracks would be running parallel to the 1-15 median. 

The Brightline West project will not just be one of the fastest ways to travel but also one of the most eco-friendly methods. It will be a fully electric, zero-emission travel method, reducing almost 400,000 carbon emissions annually.

USDOT had previously approved a series of funding. In 2020 a private activity bond of $1 billion was sanctioned, in December 2023, the BIL (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) granted the Nevada Department of Transportation $3 billion, and in June 2023, the DOT granted San Bernardino County Transportation Authority $25 million. This would be used to build stations in Hesperia and Victor Valley, California.

There will be a flagship station in Las Vegas and another station at Apple Valley.

Contractor News previously reported that Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen had worked with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to ensure that the Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program would be utilized to "construct this critical high-speed rail project.”

The private activity bond enables large infrastructure projects with tax-exempted bonds to reduce the capital cost while also increasing private sector involvement in transportation projects.

The Brightline West project is mammoth not just in scale but also in its impact. It will help to promote tourism and create approximately 35,000 jobs.

"As the first true high-speed rail system in America, Brightline West will serve as the blueprint for connecting cities with fast, eco-friendly passenger rail throughout the country," Brightline Founder and Chairman Wes Edens said. "Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California will provide widespread public benefits to both states, creating thousands of jobs and jump- starting a new level of economic competitiveness for the region. We appreciate the confidence placed in us by DOT and are ready to get to work."

The project will commence this year and is expected to be ready by the Summer Olympics in LA in 2028.

“Today, the Biden-Harris administration takes the next step to fulfill the promise of high-speed rail in the American West, with $2.5 billion in private activity bond authority to lay tracks, create jobs, and connect American cities,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.


Category : Department of Transportation Federal Government Railroads

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