Brightline West secures right-of-way for Vegas high-speed rail; the line should be electrified
Brightline West continues to make progress with its Las Vegas-Los Angeles high-speed line.
The missing link in Brightline West’s Las Vegas-Los Angeles high-speed rail service now appears to be in place.
Brightline West has been granted the right of way for a 49-mile connecting route that begins in Victor Valley, Nevada, crosses Cajon Pass and connects to a Metrolink station in Rancho Cucamonga, California. From there, passengers could take a Metrolink train to Union Station in Los Angeles.
The Federal Railroad Administration is also conducting an environmental review of the route, which is expected to be completed in November.
It looks like the high-speed line will be powered by an overhead power line, which will require the construction of a power substation in Hesperia. However, Cajon Pass is known for high winds, which could impact the power line and disrupt service. Downed lines could also increase the risk of forest fires.
Brightline West expects the entire project to cost $8 billion. There was an attempt in 2020 to issue up to $3.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds, but a lack of demand caused Brightline West to end the offering prematurely. A bond financing package is still under consideration, and it is hoped the project will receive federal funding under the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
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