The Biden administration will invest $3 billion in a new high-speed rail project to connect California to Las Vegas while the state’s current project continues to show little real progress.
The funding from the Biden administration is being appropriated from the bipartisan infrastructure law, which approved $1.2 trillion in new spending for infrastructure projects, to build the Brightline West high-speed rail system between Las Vegas and Southern California to boost tourism and reduce congestion along the Interstate-15 corridor, according to a press release from Democratic Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen.
The initiative follows years of slow progress on California’s own high-speed rail project, which was first authorized in 2008 and aims to connect Los Angeles with the Central Valley and San Francisco, yet as of May, not a single mile of track has been laid, according to CNBC.
“This historic high-speed rail project will be a game changer for Nevada’s tourism economy and transportation,” Rosen said in the press release. “It’ll bring more visitors to our state, reduce traffic on the I-15, create thousands of good paying jobs, and decrease carbon emissions, all while relying on local union labor.”
The $3 billion grant is only one-fourth of the estimated $12 billion needed to complete the project, with the company doing the project, Brightline, originally requesting $3.75 billion, according to The Hill. Brightline estimates it will eliminate 3 million car trips annually with the rail project, and take just under three hours for passengers to complete, and be completed in 2027.
In contrast, California’s high-speed rail project was authorized on a $9 billion bond in 2008 but has not made significant progress on the rail itself, instead spending more than $600 million in environmental reviews, according to CNBC. Some recent estimates believe the project will cost between $88 billion and $128 billion to complete, with only $9.8 billion spent so far.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has in the past expressed hope that funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law could be used for the California rail project, with $66 billion in the law being allocated for rail initiatives, according to CNBC. So far, 85% of the funding for the rail project has come from the state of California.
In November, President Joe Biden announced $16.4 billion in new funding to Amtrak, the national passenger railroad company of the U.S., to fund 25 rail projects from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts. Amtrak predicts it will continue to lose around $1 billion per year and has never made a profit since its establishment in 1971.
The White House and the California’s Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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