U.S. passenger rail projects get a necessary boost in funding

U.S. rail is getting a necessary boost of support from the federal government. According to AP News, the White House last week announced that it was putting a record $8.2 billion from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure bill to various passenger rail across the country. Additionally, on Friday, Biden announced that $6 billion of that funding would go to the upcoming high-speed rail planned to connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

In the high-speed rail project was given the green light in 2008 by California voters. Since then the project has unfortunately ballooned to over $100 billion from the initial 30 billion estimate.

Brightline owner Wes Edens, who has taken up the task for building the project and according to Forbes, is raising at least $9 billion in private funds in addition to the federal grant. Edens shared his gratitude for the grant by the federal government in a statement.

“We’re honored and humbled in the confidence President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Rosen and so many others have placed in Brightline’s vision to bring true high-speed rail to America,” said Edens. “This is a historic moment that will serve as a foundation for a new industry, and a remarkable project that will serve as the blueprint for how we can repeat this model throughout the country.”

Despite Brightline being a new private rail company, they have already made a significant impact on passenger rail within the U.S. The recent opening of the new Brightline rail connecting Orlando and Miami has encouraged a more positive perception of trains within the country. Construction for the project has yet to start but the projected end date date was is expected for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Brigntline’s next big project connecting California and Nevada seeks to be the make-or-break moment for the future of high-speed rail within the U.S.

“This is kind of a watershed moment in the history of rail in the United States of America,” said White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “As the president has often said, when he talks about Xi Jinping and China and competing with them, the United States ought to have world-class high-speed rail and this is a pretty good stake in the ground toward that goal.”

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