USA.- January 16th 2024 www.zonadeazar.com Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus has dedicated approximately 25 years to advancing a proposed high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California.
Initially met with skepticism from locals, this ambitious project has gained momentum, buoyed by a multi-jurisdictional strategic effort, meticulous planning by rail service company Brightline, and a significant $3 billion grant from the federal government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The culmination of these efforts was marked by a formal announcement on December 8 at the Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas. President Joe Biden, alongside key officials including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Governor Joe Lombardo, and Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, revealed the grant for Brightline West.
This planned 218-mile, all-electric passenger rail service will be constructed within the median of Interstate 15, connecting Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, California. President Biden hailed it as the “first world-class high-speed rail project in the nation.”
Brightline founder Wes Edens views the grant as a historic moment, laying the foundation for a new industry and a project that could serve as a blueprint for similar initiatives nationwide. Edens aims to secure the remaining funds for the $12 billion project through private investors, with construction slated to begin early this year and operations expected to commence in time for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The high-speed rail, operating at speeds of up to 200 MPH, will feature all-new tracks powered by solar and geothermal energy. The travel time between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga is estimated at 2 hours and 10 minutes. Additional stations are planned in Hesperia and Apple Valley, with the flagship Las Vegas station located south of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Brightline, known for its express train service in Florida, sees the Vegas-LA route as the next evolution. The project has wider implications beyond boosting Southern California tourism, offering an alternative to driving or flying. It could potentially lead to increased connectivity between major cities, facilitate commuting between Las Vegas and Southern California, and attract businesses seeking a favorable environment.
The prospect of a Las Vegas connection to the Olympic Games is an exciting possibility, showcasing the broader impact of an efficient high-speed rail line. Harry Teng, a professor and commissioner for the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority, emphasizes the necessity of such a connection for the region’s growth and economic development.
While skeptics may question the feasibility of the project, Teng highlights the advantages of having the necessary funds in place for rapid construction. The immediate impacts, if Brightline West stays on course, include the creation of 35,000 construction jobs, reduced carbon emissions, fewer short-distance flights, and increased visitors to Las Vegas for both business and leisure. Edens estimates that the train could eliminate about 3 million cars from the road, cutting 20% of car traffic between the two cities.
While challenges and questions remain, the high-speed rail project represents a significant step toward reshaping the transportation landscape in the region and fostering economic growth.