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Biden Administration Approves $2.5 Billion for High-Speed Train Project between Las Vegas and Southern California

by Anna

In a significant development, the Biden administration has given the green light for the issuance of $2.5 billion in tax-exempt bonds to support the proposed high-speed passenger train project connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. This approval comes on the heels of a $3 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in December and the government’s authorization in 2020 for the sale of $1 billion in similar bonds for the Brightline West project.

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Brightline founder and Chairman Wes Edens expressed gratitude for the confidence placed in the project by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and affirmed their readiness to commence work. Brightline Holdings LLC, based in Florida, presently operates the sole privately-owned intercity passenger railroad in the United States, facilitating high-speed travel between Miami and Orlando, reaching speeds of up to 125 mph (200 kph).

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The ambitious Brightline West initiative aims to cover a distance of 218 miles (351 kilometers), shuttling passengers at speeds exceeding 186 mph (300 kph) on new electric train tracks along the Interstate 15 corridor. The project’s objective is to significantly reduce travel time, cutting the current four-hour freeway journey between Las Vegas and suburban San Bernardino County near Los Angeles in half.

Planners and political figures involved in the project assert that all necessary right-of-way and environmental approvals, along with labor agreements, are in place. The high-speed rail link is anticipated to alleviate weekend and holiday travel congestion, addressing traffic jams that frequently extend up to 15 miles (25 kilometers) on I-15 near the Nevada-California border.

U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada, a Democrat who has been a staunch supporter of the project in Congress, expressed optimism that the long-awaited rail link would have a positive impact on Nevada’s tourism economy. She foresees the creation of thousands of jobs along with benefits such as reduced traffic and pollution in the region.

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