Nevada DOT receives $3B federal grant: Brightline West to use funds to build CA-NV HSR

“We’re honored and humbled in the confidence President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Rosen and so many others have placed in Brightline’s vision to bring true high-speed rail to America,” exclaimed Wes Edens, Founder and Chairman of Brightline. “This is 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. We’re ready to get to work to bring our vision of American made, American built, world class, state-of-the-art high speed train travel to America.”

President Joe Biden joined elected officials from Nevada and California to formally announce that the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has received $3 billion in funding from the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program for Brightline West. Brightline West will connect Las Vegas and Southern California and will be the nation’s first true high-speed rail system. The project will also be the first to be built with American union labor. The fully-electric, zero-emission system will become one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S.

President Biden was joined by Nevada officials including Governor Joe Lombardo, Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, Representatives Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford. Also in attendance were representatives from the High Speed Rail Labor Coalitionand the Nevada Building Trades.

“Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California by high-speed rail will create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs, boost our Southern Nevada tourism economy, and finally help us cut down on I-15 traffic,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Bringing high-speed rail to Southern Nevada just makes sense, given the tens of millions of visitors we have each year. I will keep working to ensure Nevada is getting the resources we need to make transportation easier and cleaner for Nevada families.”

Brightline West’s modern, eco-friendly system will redefine train travel in America and connect two of the most iconic destinations: Las Vegas and Southern California. This 218-mile passenger rail service will reach speeds up to 200 mph with no grade crossings and the alignment is within the median of the I-15 highway. The system will feature three full-service stations in Las Vegas, Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

“As far back as 2001, I’ve been advocating to bring a true high-speed rail system to Southern Nevada, and I am thrilled that this funding will allow Brightline West and the Nevada Department of Transportation to do just that. This project will help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus, Nevada’s 1st District. “We’ll be creating jobs, reducing emissions, alleviating traffic, and setting an unprecedented example for the possibilities of high-speed rail in our country.”

The Las Vegas station will include mobility connections and easy access to the Las Vegas Strip, the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium and the Las Vegas Convention Center. The flagship Las Vegas station will be on 110 acres at the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. Brightline West’s California stations will include Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga, with direct connectivity via California Metrolink to key points in Los Angeles, such as Union Station.

Brightline West’s $12 billion project will bring widespread benefits including more than $10 billion in economic impact to Nevada and California. Economic studies show the project will create more than 35,000 (direct and indirect) jobs including 10,000 direct union construction jobs and nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance. Brightline West’s investment also includes more than $800 million in roadway improvements to the I-15 corridor. Brightline West has agreements in place with several unions for the use of highly skilled union labor in critical jobs required to build, operate and maintain the project.

“Today’s announcement by President Biden of the $3 billion award for the Brightline West High-Speed Rail Project is a massive win for the people of California and Nevada. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California has worked for years to bring this project forward and are very proud of Brightline West and the Biden-Harris Administration for bringing it together,” insisted Chris Hannan, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. “Funding for this project from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make the lives for people in California and Nevada better, from the millions of people who will move about safely and efficiently resulting in tremendous relief on Interstate 15 and local communities to the thousands of members represented and trained by Building Trades Unions who will construct this monumental project. Union members both journey-level and apprentices alike will work hard building this country and their economic future because of this bold leadership and action.”

The project’s environmental benefits are equally impressive and designed to support Nevada and California’s climate strategies by promoting a no-emission mobility option that lowers greenhouse gasses by more than 400,000 tons of CO2 each year. The diversion of people from auto and air travel to Brightline West’s high-speed rail system reduces vehicle miles traveled by more than 700 million each year and 16,000 short haul flights annually.

The $3 billion grant award marks the largest in NDOT’s history and is the culmination of more than two decades of planning and coordination to build a high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California. NDOT, as the grant administrator, will continue to play an important oversight role as Brightline West constructs the rail system. Additionally, NDOT will be responsible for the design, construction, and oversight of any NDOT infrastructure that requires modification as a result of Brightline West’s work.

About Brightline West

Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America – offering a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too short to fly and too long to drive. Brightline West will connect Las Vegas and Southern California with the first true high-speed passenger rail system in the nation. The 218-mile, all-electric rail service will include a flagship station in Las Vegas, with additional stations in Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga. At speeds up to 200 miles per hour, trains will take passengers from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga in about two hours, twice as fast as the normal drive time.

Brightline is currently operating its first passenger rail system in South Florida connecting Central and South Florida with stations in Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Orlando.

Source: “President Biden Joins Officials in Las Vegas to Announce $3B Grant for Nevada Department of Transportation for Brightline West,” Dec. 8, 2023 Brightline West Press Release.

Update: Dec. 16, 2023 at 4:27 p.m. PST.

Above and corresponding, connected home-page-featured images: Brightline West