High-speed train from Las Vegas to California obtains bipartisan support
With more than 50 million one-way annual trips between the two states, Brightline expects more than 12 million of them to be made by train once it begins operations
April 25, 2023 7:57am
Updated: April 25, 2023 9:21am
A bipartisan group asked the Biden administration on Monday to speed up the approval for the funds to build a high-speed rail line connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
Six elected federal lawmakers from Nevada and four House members from California sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg with a $10 billion proposal from Brightline West to lay the fast train tracks along Interstate 15.
Interstate 15 is known for having traffic jams that can traffic up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) near the Nevada-California line, with many motorists heading back and forth between the two states.
The high-speed rail would be built in the Mojave desert and could cut the four-hour trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles by nearly half as it travels at speeds of nearly 200 mph (322 kph).
With more than 50 million one-way annual trips between the two states, Brightline expects more than 12 million of them to be made by train once it begins operations.
“This project is a major priority because it will make southern Nevada more accessible to millions of visitors each year,” said U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, the Nevada Democrat leading the group. She said it “will boost our economy and create more good-paying jobs.”
In the letters, the lawmakers say that the construction of the train would bring more than 35,000 construction jobs to the area, in addition to 1,000 permanent jobs. Furthermore, they claimed that electric-powered trains can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions emitted by vehicles.
The high-speed rail could be “the blueprint for how we can connect major city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Florida-based Brightline Holdings LLC, a privately owned and operated intercity passenger railroad in the United States.
The company has said that about 70% of the funding for the train will be private, through a combination of debt and equity. However, Brightline West is seeking $3.75 billion in federal funding from the federal infrastructure law.