High-speed train that will connect Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 300 km/h gets green light for $2.5 billion funding boost

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A high-speed passenger train project connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles has received a further boost with the approval of an additional $2.5 billion (£1.975 billion) in funding.

The Brightline West Railway aims to transport passengers at 300 mph or faster on electric trains across the Nevada desert in just two hours. Its creation will cost approximately $12 billion.

The latest financing – in tax-exempt bonds – was recently approved by the Biden administration.

It follows an unprecedented $3 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in December and government approval in 2020 for the company to sell $1 billion worth of similar bonds.

“We appreciate the trust the DOT has placed in us and are ready to get to work,” said Wes Edens, founder and president of Brightline.

A high-speed passenger train project linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles has received a further boost with the approval of an additional $2.5 billion (£1.975 billion) in funding.  The Brightline West Railway aims to transport passengers across the Nevada desert in just two hours.  Pictured is a Brightline train in Fort Lauderdale

A high-speed passenger train project linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles has received a further boost with the approval of an additional $2.5 billion (£1.975 billion) in funding. The Brightline West Railway aims to transport passengers across the Nevada desert in just two hours. Pictured is a Brightline train in Fort Lauderdale

Brightline Holdings LLC, based in Florida, is the only privately owned passenger rail company in the United States, connecting Miami and Orlando with diesel trains reaching speeds of up to 125 mph (200 km/h).

And it could soon become the first in the country to offer a high-speed electric option if its new Brightline West project succeeds.

The 218-mile (351 km) railway will cut in half a four-hour highway trip between Las Vegas and the San Bernardino County suburbs near Los Angeles.

It will make stops in Las Vegas, Victory Valley, Hesperia and Ranch Cucamonga in California, where it will connect to the City of Angels Metrolink commuter train.

Planners and politicians say the project has all the required passage and environmental permissions, as well as working agreements, and should help reduce weekend and end-of-holiday travel. traffic jams which often extend 25 km on I-15, near the Nevada-California line.

No date has been announced for work to begin, but officials said it could be operational by the start of the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

No date has been announced for work to begin, but officials said it could be operational by the start of the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

The planned new route is the idea of ​​Wes Edens, the billionaire co-owner of the Bucks and Aston Villa FC.

The planned new route is the idea of ​​Wes Edens, the billionaire co-owner of the Bucks and Aston Villa FC.

Wes Edens, founder and president of Brightline

Wes Edens, founder and president of Brightline

Nevada U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, a Democrat who supported the project Congresssaid she expects the long-sought rail link to boost Nevada’s tourism economy and create thousands of jobs while reducing traffic and pollution.

No date has been announced for work to begin, but officials said it could be operational by early Los Angeles summer. Olympic Games in 2028.

The planned new route is the idea of ​​Wes Edens, the billionaire co-owner of the Bucks and Aston Villa FC.

He helped found Brightline in 2012 to make his vision a reality and now thanks leadership for their vote of confidence.

December’s $3 billion grant is funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which when passed in 2021 was billed as “a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.” .

These taxpayer-funded guidelines aim to channel money to America’s roads, bridges and rails, while expanding access to things like clean water and high-speed internet .

It will also see money pumped into research into how to address the climate crisis, as well as advancing environmental justice and communities that have too often been left behind.

Planners and politicians say the project should help ease weekend and late-holiday traffic jams that often stretch 15 miles on I-15 near the Nevada-California line.

Planners and politicians say the project should help ease weekend and late-holiday traffic jams that often stretch 15 miles on I-15 near the Nevada-California line.

Once fully operational, Edens and Brightline said they expect to sell 12 million one-way tickets each year.

Once fully operational, Edens and Brightline said they expect to sell 12 million one-way tickets each year.

Lawmakers and politicians in California and Nevada, particularly Nevada, have claimed they meet the criteria, citing that a two-hour train trip would be good news for the millions of Americans who travel each year from Southern California to Vegas.

The lion’s share, according to statistics, comes from the City of Angels – with around 50 million one-way trips made each year between the city and Las Vegas, mostly by car or bus.

Once fully operational, Edens and Brightline said they expect to sell 12 million one-way tickets each year.

Last year, Edens, who previously worked as a partner at now-defunct Lehman Brothers and also runs Manhattan-based Fortress Investments, said the demand was there and it was time for the U.S. to catch up other first world countries.

“The Vegas-LA route is probably the best system in the world that hasn’t been built yet,” he told Forbes in an interview, pointing to the current lack of high-speed rail in the United States.

“Vegas-LA is probably the best system in the world that hasn’t been built yet,” Edens said.

“When you look at the systems in Japan, the systems in China, nine major cities in Japan are connected by an actual bullet train.”

The billionaire businessman then discussed the difficulties currently felt by California state officials, who have been trying for years – unsuccessfully – to finish work on a separate high-speed rail that would connect Los Angeles to San Francisco.

This project has been plagued by setbacks for more than 15 years and has already cost taxpayers a staggering $108 billion.

‘China has 26,000 miles of high-speed rail lines. We don’t have any,” Edens said.

For comparison, the businessman promised it would only cost him about $12 billion to chart the 218-mile path, all in a fraction of the time – even after the Covid-19 pandemic destroyed its plans for a rail future for passengers for three years.

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