U.S DOT approves $2.5B in bonds for Brightline West Project

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $2.5 billion in private activity bonds authority for the Brightline West High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail project connecting Las Vegas to Southern California.

The 218-mile high-speed rail line will run along the I-15 median and be able to reach 186 miles per hour, making the trip in two hours – half the amount of time a trip by car would take. The $12 billion project will be full electric, officials said, with zero emissions. The project is expected to create more than 35,000 jobs, decrease traffic on I-15 and eliminate more than 400,000 tons of carbon pollution each year.

“Today, the Biden-Harris administration takes the next step to fulfill the promise of high-speed rail in the American West, with $2.5 billion in private activity bond authority to lay tracks, create jobs, and connect American cities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “President Biden’s historic infrastructure package gives us the opportunity to build safe, green, and accessible rail systems that will deliver benefits to the American people for generations to come.”

In 2020, the DOT approved a $1 billion private activity bond allocation, bringing the total for the project to $3.5 billion. In December, the DOT also awarded a $3 billion grant to the Nevada Department of Transportation for the project as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. And in June, the DOT awarded a $25 million grant to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority to fund construction of Brightline West stations in Hesperia and Victor Valley, California.

“As the first true high-speed rail system in America, Brightline West will serve as the blueprint for connecting cities with fast, eco-friendly passenger rail throughout the country,” said Brightline Founder and Chairman Wes Edens. “Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California will provide wide-spread public benefits to both states, creating thousands of jobs and jumpstarting a new level of economic competitiveness for the region. We appreciate the confidence placed in us by DOT and are ready to get to work.”