‘1st’ U.S. HSR pike step closer to getting green light

LAS VEGAS (Jun. 28, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) received a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant award. The award will fund the final design and construction of two Brightline West intercity passenger rail stations and associated facilities in Hesperia and Apple Valley, Calif.

The RAISE program funds surface transportation projects that have a significant local and regional impact and address racial equity and barriers to opportunity. Brightline West’s two High Desert stations in Apple Valley and Hesperia will provide high-speed rail service to downtown Los Angeles through a connection with Metrolink’s San Bernardino Commuter Rail service, creating a much-needed transportation alternative for people living in the High Desert.

Brightline West’s $12 billion high-speed rail system will be the first high-speed rail system in America, bringing widespread benefits to Las Vegas and Southern California. The fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S., removing over three million cars annually and more than 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.

Economic studies show that Brightline West will create more than 35,000 jobs including 10,000 union construction jobs and nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance. The project is expected to generate more than $10 billion in economic impact to California and Nevada. Brightline’s investment also includes more than $800 million in roadway improvements to the I-15 corridor.

Dr. Raymond Wolfe, executive director of the SBCTA, said the funding award for the Apple Valley and Hesperia stations paves the way for a larger grant sought by Brightline West for the Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga system, which will improve access and connectivity across Southern California. “This will provide a direct link between the High Desert, Rancho Cucamonga, downtown Los Angeles and our own East Valley, reducing the need to rely on personal vehicles for daily commutes, improving air quality and closing the live-work gap for millions of people. Along with other commuter projects either under way or under development, including the Arrow Line and the West Valley Connector bus rapid-transit system, Brightline West represents a cost-effective, 21st century solution to our region’s transportation challenges,” Wolfe said.

“The High Desert stations are an integral component to our 218-mile system and will connect millions of residents with America’s first true high-speed rail system,” said Sarah Watterson, president of Brightline West. “We’re moving towards a groundbreaking later this year, kickstarting one of the largest job creators in the country and setting the stage for a new era in transportation. We are appreciative of our federal partners, the SBCTA and all those who support our system.”

In April, the Nevada Department of Transportation in coordination with Brightline West applied for $3.75 billion from the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program. The program, authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, makes funding available for projects that expand or establish new intercity passenger rail service.

Source: “SBCTA Awarded $25 Million RAISE grant,” Jun. 28, 2023 Brightline West press release.

Last updated on Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:14 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

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