The Biden administration last week announced that it would give over $6 billion to two high-speed electric rail route projects in the American West, breathing new life into long-delayed protects opponents have criticized for their high cost and lengthy construction times, the Associated Press reported.
California and Nevada senators said the federal government would provide $3 billion to a privately-owned high-speed rail route linking Las Vegas to Los Angeles as well as another $3.1 billion for California’s state-funded effort to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles.
While the more than $6 billion is only a fraction of what it would cost to construct the entire routes, it confirms the Biden administration’s commitment to bringing Europe’s commonplace mode of transportation to the United States.
California voters in 2008 approved a 500-mile high-speed rail project linking San Francisco to Los Angeles at a projected cost of around $30 billion. The fully electric train was to travel at speeds of up to 200 mph starting in 2020. However, more than a decade later, the price has more than tripled to over $100 billion, of which only around $25 billion in state funding has been identified.
With the LA to San Francisco line still only a fantasy, state officials today are focusing on a 171-mile stretch connecting Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield that would not be running until 2033 at the latest.
The Biden administration’s $3.1 billion in funding would go to constructing the 171-mile segment.
The planned route connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles has been in discussion for decades. Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen told reporters last week that the privately-owned project has obtained all of the required environmental and right-of-way approvals as well as labor agreements to begin work on about 218 miles of rail along the corridor of Interstate 15.
While there is no projected start date for construction, Senator Rosen said the high-speed rail could be running between the two cities by the time Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics.