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Wes Edens’ Vegas-To-California Bullet Train Moving Ahead With $3 Billion Federal Grant

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Private equity billionaire Wes Edens’ high-speed train project to connect Las Vegas to suburban Los Angeles has won a $3 billion grant from the Biden Administration. The project, called Brightline West, would be the first true high-speed rail line in the United States.

“We’re honored and humbled in the confidence President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Rosen and so many others have placed in Brightline’s vision to bring true high-speed rail to America,” founder and chairman Edens said in an emailed statement. “This is a historic moment that will serve as a foundation for a new industry, and a remarkable project that will serve as the blueprint for how we can repeat this model throughout the country.”

Construction of the new 218-mile Brightline West bullet train, running mostly along U.S. Interstate 15, may start as early as this year. The goal is to have trains running at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour between downtown Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, a suburb east of Los Angeles (and connected to the city by an existing commuter rail line) in time for the 2028 Olympic games. By contrast, California’s $100 billion high-speed rail project, which is already under construction, isn’t scheduled to begin operating through the state’s Central Valley region until the 2030s.

Edens’s Brightline, the only private passenger rail company in the U.S., already operates train service between Orlando and Miami, though that system’s speed tops out at 125 mph. The federal funds being awarded to Brightline were made available from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help the U.S., a global laggard in high-speed rail, begin to build such systems. The company is raising the additional $9 billion from private investors.

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“The dream of American high-speed rail is about to become reality,” Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and co-chair of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Coalition, said in an emailed statement.

President Biden will travel to Las Vegas to announce the federal award later this week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported today, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Edens, who co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and European soccer teams, has said Brightline West will be the “greenest” bullet train in the world. He plans to purchase electricity to power it from solar farms in the desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

“We’re ready to get to work to bring our vision of American-made, American-built, world-class, state-of-the-art high-speed train travel to America,” he said in the statement.

Source: Fox Business

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