LAS VEGAS — President Joe Biden on Friday hailed the promise of a long-awaited high-speed rail system between Las Vegas and Los Angeles and said $3 billion in federal funds awarded this week will ensure it gets built.
“At long last we’re building the first high-speed rail project in our nation’s history and it’s starting here,” Biden said. “Together we’re finally going to make high-speed rail happen between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Folks, we’ve been talking about this project for decades. Now, we’re really getting it done.”
Biden and Air Force One touched down in Las Vegas at about 1 p.m. Friday along with Sen. Jacky Rosen and Rep. Dina Titus and headed to the Carpenters International International Training Center to announce the federal grant award for Brightline West’s $12 billion high-speed rail system. The training center is just miles away from Brightline’s planned Las Vegas station, scheduled to be constructed on Las Vegas Boulevard, between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads.
The $3 billion award is from the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program and will be put toward the construction of the planned 218-mile rail system. Those grant funds are part of $8.2 billion in new federal funding for 10 major passenger rail projects across the country.
“This is a huge step forward, we could get to work on Monday,” Wes Edens, co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, Brightline’s parent company, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do this, after all the hard work we put in. The support of the government has been phenomenal, the support of the people here in Las Vegas has been tremendous and we’re really excited now to get started.”
The Nevada Department of Transportation served as the grant administrator in the filing, with the $3 billion secured amounting to the largest grant award in NDOT history.
“Three-billion to make Brightline a bright new reality for our tourist corridor,” Rosen said.
The project’s remaining cost will be paid by tax-exempt private activity bonds from Nevada and California, plus private capital.
Outside of Las Vegas, plans call for Brightline stations to be built in Hesperia, Apple Valley and Rancho Cucamonga, California. Travelers will be able to travel to and from downtown Los Angeles from the Rancho Cucamonga station via the Metrolink.
A trip between Las Vegas and L.A., including the Metrolink transfer, is expected to take 2 hours and 40 minutes.
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