Feds commit $3B for high-speed rail connecting SoCal to Las Vegas

Upgrade to ease traffic, boost economy, and cutting carbon emissions

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael (Getty)
Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael (Getty)

The federal government has announced a $3 billion investment in a high-speed rail system connecting Southern California to Las Vegas. 

The fully electric high-speed rail system is set to cover a distance of 218 miles along the 15 Freeway between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, costing an estimated $12 billion, the Daily Bulletin reported.  Rancho Cucamonga is about 50 miles east from Downtown LA and links via a regional light rail line.

Developers anticipate that the project will significantly alleviate traffic congestion, removing 3 million cars from the freeway and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tons annually. 

Rancho Cucamonga’s Cucamonga Station is expected to host over 11 million passengers annually.

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael said the investment would boost economic growth, tourism, and commercial ventures.

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The project is expected to generate over 11,000 jobs annually and bring $5 billion in spending to San Bernardino County, with $300 million directed to the city of Rancho Cucamonga. 

The Federal Rail Administration granted environmental review and permits for the project in July, covering a 49-mile stretch of rail between Rancho Cucamonga and the High Desert. Despite the project being discussed for decades, Senator Rosen confirmed that all necessary right-of-way and environmental approvals, along with labor agreements, have been secured for the work to commence.

While no start date has been announced, officials expect the high-speed rail line to be operational by 2027, coinciding with the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. 

The service, modeled after Florida-based Brightline’s successful venture on the east coast, is anticipated to reduce travel time significantly, with trains reaching speeds of nearly 200 mph and potentially halving the four-hour trip from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga. The initiative aims to address weekend and end-of-holiday traffic congestion on the 15 Freeway near the Nevada-California line.

— Ted Glanzer