Brightline West, a high-speed rail project to connect Las Vegas with Southern California, is slated to break the ground later this year. Image courtesy of Brightline.
Brightline West, a subsidiary of Brightline, the only privately owned passenger railroad in the country, is planning a 170 mile high-speed rail link to connect Las Vegas to the Apple Valley community in San Bernardino County. With a top speed of 200 miles per hour, trains on Brightline West are expected to travel in half the time it takes to travel. The trains would depart every 45 minutes and each offer a capacity between 600 and 1,200 passengers.
While Brightline West originally expected construction to start by the end of 2020, the project suffered significant setbacks due to the pandemic. One is the lack of interest in private equity bonds that the US Department of Transportation and the states of Nevada and California allotted to finance the project. A letter from Brightline to the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority received from USA Today leads to election uncertainty, a lack of approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, and a lack of liquidity in the market for the blowback. Subsequently, Fortress Investment Group, Brightline’s parent company, halted the $ 8 billion project last year when it failed to complete the financing.
According to an announcement by Brightline West President Sarah Watterson, the company is now preparing a revised financial plan where the project could lay the foundation in the second quarter of 2021 due to improved market conditions. However, a definitive date is still pending.
That news also comes after President Joe Biden’s proposed US $ 2 trillion employment plan that would give Amtrak $ 80 billion to cover its repairs, modernize existing tracks, and create new connections between cities . Amtrak then announced plans for an expanded national rail system that includes two new passenger lines connecting Los Angeles with Phoenix and Las Vegas.