Brightline Breaks Ground in Nevada on High-Speed Line

The side of a Brightline coach along the right-of-way.

The railroad Brightline today broke ground in Nevada on its new Brightline West project. Brightline will use trains traveling up to 200 miles per hour to cut the travel time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles in half. The company already operates successful trains between Miami and Orlando, and it aims to launch Brightline West service in time for the 2028 Olympics.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, along with other federal, state, and local officials, joined Brightline founder Wes Edens in Las Vegas to hammer the first spike for Brightline’s latest project. The company already operates 16 passenger trains per day in each direction between Miami and Orlando. For Brightline West, California and Nevada have granted Brightline a right of way alongside Interstate 15. In December, the U.S. DOT augmented private investment in the project with $3 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Attending in-person

Rick Harnish, our executive director, personally attended the groundbreaking.

“This is a transformational investment in American trains,” Harnish said. “Getting a high-speed line in operation this decade will show Americans this terrific way to travel. If you have ever felt frustrated by traffic gridlock or airport hassles, a better future just got closer.”

“It’s urgent that we plan to bring these benefits to every region of our country. Just as the United States did for the Interstate Highway System, we need to establish a federal railway program that coordinates and supports the development of great train service. This means a combination of high-speed backbones, connected with regional rail networks. This can give people throughout the country the option to use fast, frequent, affordable trains.”

Momentum is building

Alongside Brightline West, other American high-speed rail projects are under construction or in development.

The California High Speed Rail Authority has more than 100 miles of a high-speed line under construction. California’s project will connect the Bay Area to Los Angeles, via the state’s populous Central Valley.

Additionally, Amtrak recently partnered with Texas Central to help advance the planning and analysis for a high-speed line between Dallas and Houston. Other important projects for high-speed service are also under development in places such as the Pacific Northwest, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The High Speed Rail Alliance is especially focused on Illinois, home to the Chicago rail hub. Midwestern states do not yet have active plans to build high-speed rail, but advocates are making progress. Harnish serves on the state’s Illinois High-Speed Railway Commission. The Commission has begun considering options for high-speed trains between Chicago and St. Louis. Also, in 2021, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan shared a vision for fast, frequent train service on pillar lines throughout this densely populated region of the country.

A dude is using an IPad on a station platform wth a high-speed train in the background.

Take Action

The country needs an Interstate Railway Program, like the Interstate Highway Program, to take full advantage of the community, economic, and environmental benefits of trains.

Please join with us in asking Congress to create a national railway program to re-connect America with fast, frequent, and affordable trains.

Sign the Petition

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