Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail project is back on track – Archinect

Posted: May 9, 2021 at 11:39 am

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Brightline West, a high-speed rail project that would connect Las Vegas to Southern California is set to break ground later this year. Image courtesy of Brightline.

Brightline West, an affiliate of Brightline, the countrys only privately owned passenger railroad, is planning a 170-mile high-speed rail line, which would connect Las Vegas to the Apple Valley community in San Bernardino County. Set to travel at a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour, trains on Brightline West are expected to make the trip in half the time compared to driving. Trains would depart every 45 minutes with each offering a capacity between 600 and 1,200 passengers.

While Brightline West originally expected to begin construction by the end of 2020, the project faced significant setbacks due to the pandemic. One such being a lack of interest in private equity bonds allocated for the project by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the states of Nevada and California to pay for the construction. A letter by Brightline to the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority obtained by USA Today attributes election uncertainty, the lack of approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, and a lack of liquidity in the market for the setback. Subsequently, Fortress Investment Group, Brightlines parent company, halted the $8 billion project last year when it couldnt complete financing.

Now, according to an announcement by Brightline West President, Sarah Watterson, the company is preparing a revised financial plan that could see the project break ground in the second quarter of 2021 due to improved market conditions. However, a definitive date has yet to be released.

This news also arrives after President Joe Bidens proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which would provide $80 billion to Amtrak to cover its repairs, modernize existing rails, and create new connections between cities. Following this, Amtrak unveiled plans for an expanded national rail system, which includes two new passenger lines connecting Los Angeles with Phoenix and Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail project is back on track - Archinect

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