California is set to spend $218 billion on a new high-speed train that will take passengers from Las Angeles to Las Vegas in two hours.
The 218-mile rail system, constructed by Brightline, will use bullet trains that carry 1,200 passengers and reach up to 200 miles per hour.
Brightline is set to start construction this year, meaning services could be operational by 2026 – but some officials speculate trains will not run until between 2030 and 2033.
The rail system, dubbed Brightline West, was first pitched in 2008 with a$9 billion price tag, but the budget increased to $33 billion in 2020 and then to $35.3 billion last year.
And because of the high price tag and delays, some California officials call it the ‘Hot Mess Express.’
Brightline is set to begin construction on a 218-mile track that will send bullet trains from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in half the time
Brightline, the only private railway company in the US, claims their high-speed train will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tons, as the bullet trains are powered with electricity.
Trains are expected to leave every 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles for a station located on the Vegas strip.
Brightline West includes stations near the iconic Las Vegas Strip and in Rancho Cucamonga, Apple Valley and Hesperia, California.
‘Approximately 50 million one-way trips are made annually between these two destinations, with 85 percent of them by car or bus,’ Brightline shared in a statement.
‘At full operations, we expect to attract approximately 12 million one-way trips each year.’
The bullet trains will provide several amenities, including free onboard WiFi, a wide selection of food and beverage, checked luggage and hotel check-in services.
However, the project was supposed to be finished by 2020, and now, engineers, product managers and Californians have lost hope.
In April 2021, Brightline West’s CEO, Mike Reininger, predicted construction would start ‘in a matter of weeks’ – but the project was delayed.
The trains reach up to 200 miles per hour, cutting the four-hour trip by car in half
Brightline West includes stations near the iconic Las Vegas Strip and in Rancho Cucamonga (pictured), Apple Valley and Hesperia, California.
According to the New York Times, the ‘projections widely used by engineers and project managers’ show that ‘the train could not be completed in this century.’
Some Republicans have referred to the bullet train as the ‘Hot Mess Express,’ KCRA reports.
‘Californians have lost faith in this project, and the Legislature has lost faith as well; it’s very frustrating,’ said Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield.
‘We need to end this project, take the resources and invest it in better things.’
However, Reininger has not yet given up and foresees the system as an ‘investment into America,’ as the construction and operation of the railway will create nearly 35,000 new jobs.
‘Our nation’s first high-speed rail system will be operated and maintained by union labor, a statement of the strength of the American workforce,’ he said last year.
‘As the most shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the United States, we are one step closer to leveling the playing field against transit and infrastructure projects around the world, and we are proud to be using America’s most skilled workers to get there.’
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