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High-speed rail from Las Vegas to Southern California breaks ground


Officials broke ground Monday on a new high-speed rail system that will connect Southern California and Las Vegas.

The Brightline West system will average speeds of about 115 miles per hour and reach a top speed of around 200 mph, comparable to other high-speed systems around the world. The Eurostar between London and Paris averages speeds of about 150 mph and tops out at around 200 mph. Amtrak’s current Acela line from Boston to Washington, D.C., travels up to 150 mph, but averages speeds of just 70 mph. Acela has plans for a high-speed fleet that will reach 160 mph.

The Brightline West system, touted as the “first true high-speed rail system” in the U.S., will run across a 218-mile route between Las Vegas and three California stops including Rancho Cucamonga, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.

The project received $3 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the rest will be privately funded, according to the company.

“I’m convinced that the first time Americans actually experience American high-speed rail on U.S. soil, there’s going to be no going back and people are going to expect and demand it all across the country,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a CNBC interview on Monday.

Brightline West aims to be operational in 2028, when Los Angeles hosts the Summer Olympics. The train will get passengers from Southern California to Las Vegas in about two hours, about half the driving time according to the company.

The project is expected to have an over $10 billion economic impact and will create more than 35,000 jobs in Nevada and California during the construction, according to the release.

“Through this visionary partnership, we are going to create thousands of jobs, bring critical transportation infrastructure to the West, and create an innovative, fast, and sustainable transportation solution,” Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said in a statement Monday.

Brightline’s first rail system launched in Florida and the route spans between Miami and Orlando. Trains reach speeds of up to 125 mph, connecting the two cities in about 3.5 hours.

“People have been dreaming of high-speed rail in America for decades — and now, with billions of dollars of support made possible by President Biden’s historic infrastructure law, it’s finally happening,” Buttigieg said in the release.

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