Las Vegas-Southern California high-speed train clears hurdle, on track to break ground this year
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A high-speed train between Las Vegas and Southern California is quickly moving toward breaking ground later this year. The Brightline West bullet train just cleared a big regulatory hurdle and is on track to receive billions in federal funding to begin construction.
The Brightline West bullet train would have no significant impact on a 49-mile stretch between the line’s southern terminus Rancho Cucamonga, CA and the Victor Valley according to a new report from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration. Brightline West Cajon Pass High-Speed Rail Project
The finding allows Brightline to proceed without an environmental impact statement for that portion of the route. An environmental assessment for the Las Vegas to Apple Valley section was approved in 2011 and reviewed in 2020. The FRA touted “the environmental benefits of the project” as it would cut down on some of the 50-million trips made each year between Las Vegas and Southern California. Brightline West President Sarah Watterson told the International Railway Journal, “having permits and right of way are typically the highest barriers to success for large scale infrastructure developments.” Brightline now has them and it is full steam ahead.
Brightline’s all-electric trains will travel 218 miles along the median of Interstate 15 at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour. Trains will take passengers from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga in just two hours and ten minutes. Though Brightline already operates in Florida connecting Orlando to Miami, Brightline’s CEO Mike Reininger told FOX5, “Brightline West will be the first true high-speed rail system in America and will serve as the blueprint for how we can connect major city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.”
The estimated cost of the Brightline West line: $12 billion. In April, lawmakers from Nevada and California sent Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg this letter requesting federal funding be expedited. Brightline West along with the Nevada Department of Transportation applied for a $3.75 billion federal grant.
Brightline West has set a goal of starting service in late 2027 or early 2028 before the summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
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