The construction of a bullet train between Las Vegas and Southern California is planned to begin later this year. If successful, it would become “the first true high-speed rail system in America,” according to the CEO of the company behind the project, per Las Vegas’ FOX5.
Florida-based Brightline, the company developing the new line, already operates trains that run from Miami to West Palm Beach and Orlando. That West Palm Beach line opened in 2018 and was America’s first new privately funded passenger rail in more than a century, according to CNBC, and the Orlando line opened in 2023 to rave reviews.
Now, Brightline is bringing Brightline West to the other coast. The planned bullet train will travel 218 miles along Interstate 15 at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour, completing a trip from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, California, in 2 hours and 10 minutes. And the project is fresh off getting funded as part of a $3 billion investment from the Biden administration in transportation infrastructure, allocated to be built with American union labor.
“[Brightline West] will serve as the blueprint for how we can connect major city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive,” Brightline CEO Mike Reininger told FOX5.
The project has a set goal of opening for business in late 2027 or early 2028 — ideally, before the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Los Angeles.
According to the EPA, the transportation sector is the biggest source of heat-trapping gas pollution in the United States at 29% of the total, and passenger cars are responsible for 58% of the sector’s planet-overheating pollution.
While many drivers are turning to electric vehicles as a more environmentally friendly alternative than gas-powered cars — which they definitely are — EVs can still have a negative environmental impact, as their batteries require harmful mining practices for nonrenewable resources.
While biking is a great alternative, it is not feasible for everyone, particularly over long distances. For long-distance travel, modern trains are generally the most environmentally friendly option as they produce less carbon pollution than most cars or planes and can transport a large number of people at once.
Projects like Brightline West may spur even more development of high-speed rail in the United States.
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.