A newly erected fence draped with Brightline West advertising could signal that work on the long-talked-about $12 billion Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail system could soon get underway.
The fencing lines a small portion of 110 acres where the planned Las Vegas station, located on south Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads, would be constructed.
Artists renderings of Brightline trains and slogans such as “California Dreamin,’” “So Fast to So Cal,” “The Coast Is Clear” and “A Brighter Ride is Here,” are featured on the tarps laid over the fencing. The fencing addition marks Brightline’s first official movement on the site.
The first talks about a high-speed rail system linking Southern Nevada and Southern California began in 2005 as DesertXpress and has since taken different names. Brightline, through its parent company Fortress Investment Group, acquired the project in 2018.
The 218-mile rail line would connect passengers between Las Vegas and downtown Los Angeles in about two hours and 40 minutes, according to the company.
The system would feature stations in Las Vegas and in Hesperia, Apple Valley and Rancho Cucamonga in California. Riders would transfer between Brightline and Metrolink at the Rancho Cucamonga station to allow for travel to and from Los Angeles.
Brightline West’s railway would travel in the median of Interstate 15 for 96 percent of the track. Some portions in Nevada would operate on the side of the northbound lanes of I-15, as it approaches the Las Vegas station.
Brightline and the Nevada Department of Transportation are awaiting word on $3.75 billion in Federal-State Partnership Program grant money to go toward construction of the system. Those grant funds are part of the U.S. bipartisan infrastructure law.
The remaining cost on the project would be paid by tax-exempt private activity bond allocations from Nevada and California, and private capital.
Earlier this year, Brightline spokesperson Ben Porritt said Brightline hopes to break ground on the project by the end of this year and to have trains operating on the system sometime in 2027.