DOT announces more than $2 billion for Brightline West high-speed rail from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

The federal government has recently made a significant investment in high-speed rail, with an announcement that it is helping to raise $2.5 billion for Brightline West. This comes on top of a previous $3 billion federal grant that was announced in December. Brightline West is the nation’s only private high-speed rail company, and this infusion of cash is a substantial amount of the expected $12 billion it will cost to build high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Southern California.

The government’s support for the project involves the issuance of bonds on behalf of Brightline West. These bonds will earn interest and provide special tax benefits for those who purchase them. This method allows local and state governments to raise money for large infrastructure projects. The expected start date for service on Brightline West is 2028, just in time for Los Angeles to host the Summer Olympics. Once complete, trains on the 218-mile route will transport passengers between Southern California and Vegas at speeds as fast as 186 mph.

The route for Brightline West will primarily run along the Interstate 15 median, and the trains will be capable of cutting the travel time to two hours, which is half the time it takes to travel by car. Billboards advertising the new service have already been placed on Las Vegas Boulevard.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that Brightline West will be a fully electric, zero-emission system, making it one of the greenest forms of transportation in the country. Additionally, the project is expected to create as many as 35,000 jobs, according to the DOT.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating that the Biden-Harris administration is fulfilling the promise of high-speed rail in the American West. He believes that the historic infrastructure package proposed by President Biden provides an opportunity to build safe, green, and accessible rail systems that will benefit the American people for generations to come.

This is not the first time that the DOT has approved funding for Brightline West. In 2020, a private activity bond allocation of $1 billion was approved, bringing the total allocation for the project to $3.5 billion. Brightline founder and chairman, Wes Edens, sees this project as the blueprint for connecting cities with fast and eco-friendly passenger rail throughout the country.

The Biden administration has made significant investments in rail, announcing nearly $31 billion in rail investments. This marks the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.

Overall, the federal government’s commitment to high-speed rail through its investment in Brightline West demonstrates a dedication to improving transportation infrastructure and promoting sustainable modes of travel. The project not only has the potential to reduce travel times and congestion but also to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. As high-speed rail continues to gain traction in the United States, it will be interesting to see how this investment sets a precedent for future rail projects and contributes to the overall modernization of the country’s transportation system.

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