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Brightline West gets funding for California rail stations

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $25 million grant to fund the construction of passenger rail stations in Hesperia and Apple Valley, California, that ultimately will help connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

The stations to be built by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority are part of the planned construction of Brightline West — a 218-mile high-speed rail system that will link Las Vegas to the Southern California communities of Apple Valley, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga, where riders will be able to take the California Metrolink as far as downtown Los Angeles.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2027 — just in time for when Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Games. Brightline is waiting for a $3.75 billion grant — nearly a quarter of the project’s total budget — requested by the Nevada Department of Transportation through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program. Construction could begin as early as this year.

Raymond Wolfe, executive director of the SBCTA, said in a statement that this round of funding may be a good indicator of the fruition of their goal to both connect Las Vegas to Southern California and decrease the need for cars along the route.

“This will provide a direct link between the High Desert, Rancho Cucamonga, downtown Los Angeles and our own East Valley, reducing the need to rely on personal vehicles for daily commutes, improving air quality and closing the live-work gap for millions of people,” Wolfe said.

Brightline also plans to invest more than $800 million in improvements to the Interstate 15 corridor.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., credited the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — a priority of President Joe Biden that was signed into law in November 2021. The act authorized federal funding for new intercity passenger rail services.

“Connecting the future Brightline West corridor with Metrolink will help take cars off the road, reducing traffic congestion and emissions to create healthier air for communities throughout the region,” Padilla said in a statement.

Brightline West plans to build a station in Las Vegas on 110 acres of land that the company owns on Las Vegas Boulevard South between Blue Diamond and Warm Springs roads.

Site plans from 2020, when the project was approved by Clark County, call for the project to encompass 273,000 square feet of land. The station is expected to be two stories tall, with a seven-story parking garage.

Brightline currently operates a rail line in South Florida with stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and one coming to Orlando this summer.

Contact Christian Casale at ccasale@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4551. Follow @vanityhack on Twitter.

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