Brightline is a high-speed train system that currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We were able to experience it last year and all I can say is, “Wow!” They’re expanding to Orlando and eventually, potentially, Tampa, and there’s even some suggestion that they could make a stop at Walt Disney World, perhaps at the expense of Disney’s Magical Express.
In September 2018, Brightline (which will have an official name change to Virgin Trains USA in mid-2020), which is the nation’s only privately-owned, operated and maintained express intercity passenger rail system, announced its expansion to the West Coast, with the acquisition of XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project that has rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The project was supposed in 2019, but, as happens with these types of things, it got pushed back a bit. But it looks like they’re back online, as they just got over a big hurdle.
As you can see from their tweet, Brightline was approved for tax-exempt bonds for the project. Specifically, a $600 million private activity bond to assist in covering the cost of the railway. As per Forbes, the organization can sell up to 4 times the allocation amount, which would bring them up to $2.4 billion.
They are also waiting on approval for some other funding which, all together, would put them within 800 million of their projected $5 billion costs.
Once running, the trains are expected to go 200mph and run only on electric power, so there will be no worries about pollution. A trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles should take about 45 minutes. A permit for a 2-story train station, which also includes shops and restaurants, has been approved by Nevadas’s Clark County Commission. It will be placed near the South Premium Outlets mall at Las Vegas Blvd. and Warm Springs Rd.
Ground expected to be broken later this year.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary