News & Reviews News Wire Nevada, California legislators back federal funding for Brightline West

Nevada, California legislators back federal funding for Brightline West

By Trains Staff | April 25, 2023

| Last updated on February 5, 2024

Nevada seeks $3.75 billion for high speed rail line between Las Vegas, Southern California

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Illustration of high-speed Brightline West train
A rendering of a Brightline West high speed train. The company and Nevada Department of Transportation are seeking $3.75 billion in federal grants, a request backed by a bipartisan group of legislators. Brightline West

LAS VEGAS — Members of Congress from Nevada and California are backing Nevada’s effort to land federal funding for the Brightline West high speed rail project, writing U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to express “strong support” for the state’s grant application.

Brightline West and the Nevada Department of Transportation applied for up to $3.75 billion in Federal-State Partnership Program funds last week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Private funding, including private activity bonds, would provide the rest of the money for a project projected to cost up to $12 billion.

The bipartisan effort includes all six of Nevada’s federal legislators: U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Jacky Rosen (D), as well as Reps. Mark Amodei (R), Steven Horsford (D), Susie Lee (D), and Dina Titus (D). They are joined by four members of the California congressional delegation: Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D), John Garamendi (D), Jimmy Gomez (D) and Jay Obernolte (R).

The letter signed by the 10 legislators says “Brightline West will serve as a powerful example of the possibilities of high-speed rail for other cities and regions” and will help advance the federal DOT goals regarding infrastructure investments, job creation, equity, and sustainability.

It also cites the economic impacts of the project, through job creation and tax revenue, as well as serving to boost local travel and tourism, and asks that the federal government provide “critical funding to enable this transformational project to move forward as expeditiously as possible.”

Rosen, in a press release, said she has been a strong supporter of the Brightline West project as a way to support Nevada’s tourism economy and easy transportation issues.

The Brightline West project would build a high speed route between Las Vegas and Southern California, mostly following the route of Interstate 15. Originally slated to reach the Victorville area, plans are now to extend the route to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where passengers could use Metrolink commuter trains to reach downtown Los Angeles [see “Comments deadline nears for Brightline West plan …,” Trains News Wire, March 20, 2023].

15 thoughts on “Nevada, California legislators back federal funding for Brightline West

  1. Of course California could just legalize gambling and prostitution and nobody would need to go to Nevada.

  2. jf Turcotte.. so true, glad to see someone else can see the Brightline scam! CA should focus on their own high speed rail plan in their state rather than this money pit. If they want to have a train connecting CA & NV try operating a corridor train that serves the on line communities too.

    1. I would be a big supporter of CA HSR, if the feds had had them build the Palmdale – Bakersfield segment first; of if they had followed SNCF’ advice and route it down the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and over (or through) the Grapevine (shorter and much less land acquisition costs); instead we were given a circuitous and longer route (political best fit) so as to get the 2008 bond issue to pass.

      For Brightline West, the only stop en route will be Victorville, because that is where predecessor Xpress West had decided it was now longer economically feasible to build closer to LA. I suspect once construction starts provisions will be made to add a future station in Barstow, as they have subsequently done in FL.

      Hopefully, this premise will not come to pass. The FEC was built and operated on rail bringing people to Flager’s hotels. And even, if it does happen, then at least it will have been a public-private partnership that will have built a “first-class” operation. I don’t see that coming from Amtrak!

    2. Even people foolish enuff to beieve that CalHSR has potential couldn’t possibly believe that Brightline West made any economic sense. The farebox revenue wouldn’t be enough to build a mile of the r/w.

  3. “A rendering of a Brightline West high speed train…” which looks like an Alstom product. Uh-oh.

  4. High-speed rail has never, and will never be built solely with private money, the up-front investment is just too big. All existing systems have been built by national public operators (JR, SNCF, FS, etc.). Nothing shocking here; why would expect Brightline West to do otherwise?

    Beside, once their Florida operations are fully up and running, there sure will be a push by Fortress to split the profitable real-estate investments from the money-losing passenger rail operations, and spin them off to public operators.

    That’s also how it usually plays out: privatizing the profits, socializing the costs, unless we start doing what civilized countries (yes, that also includes Morocco) have sucessfully done for decades: have the government railways operate the high speed rail network themselves, for their own interest.

    1. The way Brightline Florida is structured no public entity would touch it and FECR won’t allow it. Better come up with another plan.

  5. Also the rendering of a Brightline West high speed train is confusing. The only thing that seems to be high speed are the cars on the highway — the train appears to be stationary:-(

  6. I’m confused. Brightline keeps saying construction is planned to start sometime this year or now maybe next year. Shouldn’t they funding lined up by now???

  7. We were told this would be a private enterprise project. Once again we were lied to, although only some of us believed that lie.

    This $3.75 billion will become many times that — along with ongoing operational losses dwarfing ticket revenue.

    1. Charles that’s the way no how incompetent you govern, you buy the votes and enrich the politicians

    1. $3.75 Million is only enough to purchase a nice rendering of the train – hence the placement under the photo. 😉

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