High Speed Rail

High-Speed Rail Heats Up in California as Brightline Eyes Las Vegas Route Extensions

As mentioned in Forbes, August 22, 2020, Brightline, the sole private passenger rail service in the U.S., has a green light from transit agencies to begin planning two extensions for its $5 billion high-speed train to Las Vegas that would tie it into existing Los Angeles-area commuter rail lines and, someday, California’s high-speed rail project. The board of Metrolink, operator of commuter trains that run from downtown Los Angeles to communities sprawled across six Southern California counties, unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 21, 2020 to study linking Brightline’s XpressWest project to Metrolink stations in L.A. suburbs Rancho Cucamonga and Palmdale. Each of the extensions would be about 50 miles from Victorville, California, the current terminus for XpressWest. They would likely add about $2 billion of additional construction costs for the Florida-based company. Tying the private train project into commuter lines serving two Los Angeles suburbs could help ensure that it eventually reaches Brightline’s target of carrying 10 million passengers a year to and from the gambling and tourist mecca. The potential XpressWest connection to Palmdale won additional support from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Aug. 19, 2020 when it approved reallocating $3 million from a canceled road project to instead create a development plant for the high-speed rail connection to Victorville.

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