U.S. to Invest $6 Billion on West Coast High-Speed Train Line

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has made decisions that will start construction of a 186-plus mph train line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles and to continue building California’s high-speed line. FRA grants will also advance the development of other new passenger-train service nationwide.

Under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Federal-State Partnership Program (FSP), the FRA is awarding more than $6 billion in funding specifically for high-speed rail includes $3 billion for Brightline West’s high-speed line between Las Vegas and L.A., planned to open by 2028. It also includes $3 billion for the continuation of design and construction for California’s high-speed rail line.

Through a second program called Corridor ID, the FRA is also expected to award dozens of grants of $500,000 each, to study new and improved passenger-train lines throughout the country. Elected officials with knowledge of the FRA’s decisions have begun sharing some of the funded projects.

“This is a transformational investment in American trains,” said Rick Harnish, executive director of the High Speed Rail Alliance, a national nonprofit organization. “Travelers can now expect to see at least one train running as fast as 200 mph in the United States this decade, as well as a dramatic expansion of regional train service. This combination of high-speed backbones, connected with regional rail networks, has the power to give people throughout the country the option to use fast, frequent, affordable trains. If you have ever felt frustrated by traffic gridlock or airport hassles, a better future just got closer.”

Investment in the country’s first high-speed lines is especially significant.

The railroad Brightline, which already operates successful trains between Miami and Orlando, aims to launch 186-plus mph passenger service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles in time for the 2028 Olympics. California and Nevada have already granted Brightline a right of way alongside Interstate 15, and federal funding now allows the project to break ground. The California High Speed Rail Authority, additionally, received FSP support for the 200-mph high-speed line that it already has under construction in California’s Central Valley, as well as sections that will connect to Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and Los Angeles transit systems.

As examples of other projects to be funded, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has shared four routes to receive federal support: Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati, Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit, Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh, and additional Cardinal Service through Ohio, between Chicago and the east coast.

Announcements about additional funding decisions from the FRA are likely forthcoming.

For more details, visit www.hsrail.org.

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