A groundbreaking ceremony with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled today in Nevada for Brightline West, the $12-billion high-speed rail line which will connect Las Vegas to Southern California.

Brightline West system mapBrightline West

The news, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, marks the formal start of construction on the 218-mile passenger rail line, following months of prep work along the corridor. Trains would run at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour within leased right-of-way parallel to Interstate 15.

The overall two hour and ten minute trip would originate from a station located just south of the Vegas Strip to a stop at Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County, with an intermediate stop in Apple Valley. Passengers would be able to transfer onto Metrolink regional rail trains at that location, providing access to Los Angeles Union Station.

The project has been the beneficiary of the landmark federal infrastructure bill approved in 2021, securing a $3-billion grant and $2.5 billion in private activity bonds for construction. $1 billion in private activity bonds had already been allocated to the project prior to the two recent funding awards, amounting to $6.5 billion in total federal investment. The remainder of the project cost is to be covered by debt and private capital.

Rendering of proposed Brightline West terminus in Rancho CucamongaGrimshaw

The project's backers have announced their intent to open the project before the 2028 Summer Olympics. An environmental study previously pointed to a 2026 groundbreaking date, with passenger service beginning in 2030.

Brightline is the second under-construction high-speed rail line intended to connect to Southern California - the federal government has also awarded $3.1 billion in grant funding to the California High-Speed Rail Project, the initial phase of which is now taking shape in the Central Valley.

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