It’s been a busy summer for Brightline West, the planned passenger rail service connecting Las Vegas to southern California. After clearing several major hurdles, Brightline West’s president Sarah Watterson said in a statement that they are “moving towards a ground-break later this year.”
On June 28th, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) and Brightline West are receiving a $25 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant to design and build the Victor/Apple Valley and Hesperia stations on the route to Rancho Cucamonga from Las Vegas. The grant is going to SBCTA because they will be responsible for building the stations.
Two weeks later, on July 12th, environmental review and permitting for the Hesperia/Apple Valley to Rancho Cucamonga part of the line was finished. The Federal Rail Administration found no significant environmental impacts. The nearly 50 miles of line would be within the right of way of Interstate Highway 15. Brightline plans to invest an additional $800 million towards improvements to the I-15 corridor.
This finding of no significant impact includes the Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga stations. Hesperia’s station also contains the maintenance facility and a power substation. The Las Vegas to Apple Valley section of the line was approved in 2011 and reviewed in 2020.
Last week, on August 1st, the Clark County Commission unanimously passed a resolution supporting an additional $3.75 billion grant for the Nevada Department of Transportation through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“When completed, the Brightline West high-speed route between southern California and Las Vegas will provide key access to rail transportation to a growing, diverse population now critically unserved by passenger rail,” said the Nevada Rail Coalition in a letter to USDOT in March. “Brightline West will serve as a powerful example of the possibilities of high-speed rail for other cities and regions.”