$2.5 Billion in Private Activity Bonds Approved for Brightline West

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved the allocation of 2.5 billion USD in private activity bonds for the Brightline West High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail project that will connect Las Vegas and Southern California.

The 218-mile, high-speed rail line will primarily run along the I-15 median with trains travelling at estimated speeds of 186 mph. This will cut the travel time between Southern California and Las Vegas to just two hours: half the time it takes to travel by car.

A future Brightline West train
A future Brightline West train

Through this 12 billion USD high-speed rail project, Brightline West will deliver a fully electric, zero-emission system that aims to be one of the greenest forms of transport in the US. It is anticipated that the project will enhance tourism, create well-paid jobs, reduce traffic on the I-15 and cut more than 400,000 tonnes of carbon pollution each year.

To help fund its delivery, private activity bonds provide financing from the Secretary of Transportation with tax-exempt interest rates. This offering is part of the Federal Government’s initiative to increase private sector investment in US transportation infrastructure.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said:

“Today, the Biden-Harris administration takes the next step to fulfill the promise of high-speed rail in the American West, with $2.5 billion in private activity bond authority to lay tracks, create jobs, and connect American cities. President Biden’s historic infrastructure package gives us the opportunity to build safe, green, and accessible rail systems that will deliver benefits to the American people for generations to come.”

In 2020, DOT previously approved a private activity bond allocation of 1 billion USD for Brightline West. The total allocation for this project therefore now stands at 3.5 billion USD.

In addition, in December, DOT awarded a 3 billion USD grant to the Nevada Department of Transportation for this project.

In June, it also awarded a 25 million USD RAISE grant to San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) to construct the Brightline West stations in Hesperia and Victor Valley, California.

Brightline Founder and Chairman Wes Edens said:

“As the first true high-speed rail system in America, Brightline West will serve as the blueprint for connecting cities with fast, eco-friendly passenger rail throughout the country. Connecting Las Vegas and Southern California will provide wide-spread public benefits to both states, creating thousands of jobs and jumpstarting a new level of economic competitiveness for the region. We appreciate the confidence placed in us by DOT and are ready to get to work.”

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