Construction starts on high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles

Las Vegas (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime)
Construction has begun on the US’ first true high-speed rail line, a 351km link between Las Vegas and Southern California.

The $12bn Brightline West, which will travel at speeds of up to 322km/h, has so far received $3bn in funding from Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and $3.5bn from the Department of Transport.

The majority of the line will run alongside interstate-15, with stops at new stations to be built in Hesperia, Rancho Cucamonga and Victor Valley. The project includes $800m in improvements to the I-15 corridor.

Brightline says its electric trains will save 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide as passengers move to it rather than driving. Travel time will be two-and-a-half hours, or half the time of a car journey.

A map of the route (Brightline)

Construction work will create 35,000 temporary jobs and, once complete, 1,000 permanent positions.

Brightline West expects to serve more than 11 million one-way passengers a year. Vegas does not have a connection to the Amtrak, and the route is often seen as too long to drive and too short to fly.

Joe Lombardo, Nevada’s governor, said: “Through this visionary partnership, we are going to create thousands of jobs, bring critical transportation infrastructure to the west, and create an innovative, fast and sustainable transportation solution. Nevada looks forward to partnering with Brightline on this historic project.”

Senator Jacky Rosen added: “For decades, Nevadans heard about the promise of high-speed rail in our state. Today’s groundbreaking is the beginning of a new era for southern Nevada.”

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