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Nevada seeks federal help for high-speed train from Southern California to Las Vegas

Publication date: May 10, 2021, 03: 27 hrs.

Last updated: may 10, 2021, 03: 46 h.

Larry Henry

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D) is among the members of Congress demanding federal help to build high-speed rail lines, such as the proposed route from Southern From California to the Las Vegas resort corridor.

Brightline high-speed train
The Brightline West high-speed train passes through the High Desert in this illustration. The proposed train route would run from Apple Valley, California to Las Vegas. (Photo: )

Titus is urging federal officials to raise the bond cap on private activity to help build a high-speed rail line to southern Nevada, according to Las Vegas Review Journal . A former Nevada lawmaker now serving in Congress, Titus operates a high-speed train route to his native Las Vegas from the Los Angeles area.

"We tried to work with the Ways and Means Committee to raise the limit on some of these bonds that they applied for when they built them here in Nevada, "Titus said.

Brightline West is proposing to build a 200 - hour train from Apple Valley, California to Las Vegas. The all-electric train would be the fastest in the country.

Brightline Holdings CEO Mike Reininger has asked federal officials to raise the annual private activity bond volume limit from $15 billion to $30 billion. The bonds are the main source of funding for the proposed High Desert passenger rail line. He said the current $15 billion "has already been exhausted ", the company's website states. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on the matter last week.

Apple Valley is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County. A ground route along Interstate 15 will take about three hours to cover the 170 miles from the Inland Empire to a station near the Las Vegas Strip. Tickets are expected to cost $ 60 one way.

Brightline officials said the company expects to begin construction by July 1.

However, Phillip Washington of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority told Titus last week that construction could begin " within the next 12 months," according to the website Nevada Independent .

Brightline halted the project last year, citing difficulties funding the $8 billion passenger service during the coronavirus pandemic.

" Eat our lunch "

Shortly after taking office earlier this year, President Joe Biden (Germany) warned that China was overtaking the United States in high-speed rail service.

A day after his February conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden noted that China is investing billions in transportation and other infrastructure needs.

They have a big, important new rail initiative, and they already have rail that goes 225 miles per hour with ease, Biden said. "You know, if we don't move, they're going to eat our lunch."

Biden recently appeared at a media event in Lake Charles, Illinois to solicit support for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

Lake Charles was battered last year by two deadly hurricanes that devastated parts of southern Louisiana. Several Lake Charles area casinos were damaged in the devastating storms, which blew ashore just weeks apart.

I - 15 Traffic problems

Last week, U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Germany) said the United States is investing "virtually nothing" in high-speed rail service. The Oregon congressman is chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"When you invest nothing, you get nothing," - he said.

For decades, Las Vegas Tourism Officials have been looking for mass transit options to ease traffic congestion from Southern California to Las Vegas. Traffic backups and long delays are becoming a problem on I - 15, especially as California tourists return home from Las Vegas hotel casinos on Sundays.

Other mass transit efforts on this important route are also under consideration. Amtrak recently proposed passenger service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Congress has not decided whether to fund Amtrak's proposal.

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