WASHINGTON — The U.S. Transportation Department is awarding $3 billion to a $12 billion Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail project that aims to be completed before the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, according to a senator.
“This historic high-speed rail project will be a game changer for Nevada’s tourism economy and transportation,” said Senator Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat, in a statement Tuesday, who has pushed for the project.
The 218-mile “Brightline West” project is expected to have speeds of at least 186 miles per hour, resulting in a proposed trip time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. A formal announcement of the project funded by the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law is planned for Friday. A total of $8.2 billion in rail awards are to be announced on Friday by the White House.
According to a document seen by Reuters, the Federal Railroad Administration said the project “will provide a competitive transportation mode compared to traveling by automobile on Interstate 15” and allow for connections to the Los Angeles Metro area via commuter rail.
Brightline West estimates it will remove 3 million cars from I-15 annually.
Wes Edens, founder and chairman of Brightline, called the award “a historic moment that will serve as a foundation for a new industry, and a remarkable project that will serve as the blueprint for how we can repeat this model throughout the country.”
Separately, a new passenger rail route between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, is set to receive a $1 billion grant, Senator Thom Tillis said Tuesday, adding it will better connect North Carolina to Washington.
Congress approved $66 billion for the country’s rail infrastructure, as part of the 2021 $1 trillion infrastructure bill, with Amtrak receiving $22 billion and $36 billion allocated for competitive grants.
In October, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked Biden for a new $3 billion federal grant for the state’s planned high-speed rail project to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco that would allow the state to complete an initial 119-mile segment.
Last month, the Transportation Department awarded $3.8 billion to help build a long-delayed new railway tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.
In total, FRA said in November it was awarding $16.4 billion to 25 projects along the Northeast Corridor (NEC).
In total, the federal government is funding more than $11 billion of the $17.2 billion Hudson Tunnel Project costs that will repair an existing tunnel and build a new one.