A $12bn high-speed rail project between Las Vegas and southern California in the US is set to receive $3bn in funding from the Department of Transportation through the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The news of investment into the construction of the Nevada to California line was revealed by Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen who praised the funding and highlighted the 35,000 jobs it was expected to create and the 3 million cars it is projected to remove from the congested I-15 highway. 

Rosen described the project as a “game changer” for Nevada’s tourism economy, she said: “For decades, Nevadans have heard about the benefits of high-speed rail, and I’m proud to have led the charge for months to push the U.S. Department of Transportation to secure critical funding to make this a reality.” 

The Brightline West line will be a 218-mile all-electric service with trains travelling around 186mph from a flagship station in Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, a city about 30-40 miles away from Los Angeles, where it will connect to the southern California Metrolink service. 

A map of the Brightline West route between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga
A map of Brightline West’s planned route. Credit: Brightline

California and Nevada lawmakers have been calling for funding for the project for months along with requests for support for the San Francisco to Los Angeles high-speed line, which is also expected to receive $3.07bn in funding after the DoT’s announcement planned for Friday. 

According to Reuters, the department will reveal $8.2bn worth of funding for rail projects under the infrastructure bill this week, following on from previous announcements allocating over $20bn of the $66bn included in the bill for rail infrastructure. 

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The Brightline funding was celebrated by the company’s founder and chairman Wes Edens who told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “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.” 

Alongside connections in Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, the new high-speed line is expected to include stations in Apple Valley and Hesperia with the entire journey planned to take around two hours and 10 minutes.

Back in July, the DoT awarded San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) $25m to be used on the final design and construction of passenger stations at Hesperia and Apple Valley, California.

The significant funding announcement comes soon after the company opened its Orlando to Miami route in Florida, marking the beginning of operations on the 235-mile line with a celebration at the Orlando station.