Biden awards $6.1 billion to Las Vegas, California high-speed rail projects
On December 8, 2023, President Biden has announced $6.1 billion in new funding for high-speed rail projects — the largest federal investment in bullet trains ever. NCFO President Dean Devita took part in the event in Las Vegas.
- The historic investment reflects President Biden’s long-standing passion for high-speed rail. On the campaign trail in 2020, the President pledged to spark America’s second great railroad revolution and create the “cleanest, safest, and fastest” passenger rail system in the world.
NCFO President Dean Devita stated, “We applaud President Biden, after decades of conversation, plans and promises, finally we got an American President who is a champion of rail transportation”. Devita continued “Trains are the best friend of the environment; These two projects, also will move the people who move the world. This is a big deal for America.”
- Thanks to the new funding, America’s high-speed rail dream is about to become reality. In a few short years, European-style bullet trains are expected to whisk passengers between Las Vegas and Southern California. The tide is finally turning for American high-speed rail, and we will soon join the 26 other nations across the world that already enjoy the benefits of world-class bullet trains.
NCFO President-elect Michael Pistone stated “Las Vegas and Los Angeles will enjoy America’s first high-Speed Train and the passengers will enjoy not dealing congested roads and airports. NCFO Members will be employed, providing strong wages and benefits.”
- The federal grants include $3 billion for Brightline West, which promises to be the nation’s first operating high-speed rail system, linking Las Vegas and Southern California. The 218-mile project is scheduled to be up and running in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
- The grants also include $3.07 billion for California High-Speed Rail, to help finish its first, 171-mile leg in the state’s fast-growing Central Valley between 2030 and 2033. The project, which will connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, will be the world’s first solar-powered bullet train.
- The Brightline West and California High-Speed Rail projects are the building blocks of a planned West Coast High-Speed Rail Corridor connecting Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco that will serve over 40 million riders a year. The West Coast Corridor will connect the world’s 5th largest economy in a brand-new way, reducing highway and airport congestion while providing passengers with an unprecedented intercity travel experience.
- President Biden is also laying the groundwork for a nationwide high-speed rail network, providing early planning funding for multiple new high-speed rail corridors across the country. These high-speed rail corridors include:
- Atlanta, GA – Charlotte, NC
- Fort Worth, TX – Dallas, TX – Houston, TX
- Palmdale, CA – Victorville, CA
- Portland, OR – Seattle, WA – Vancouver, BC
- Bullet trains promise to transform the nation’s transportation system — taking millions of cars off the road and thousands of planes out of the skies by creating a fast, convenient, and affordable travel option between major cities.
- High-speed trains are the biggest and most efficient electric vehicles on the planet — longer than three football fields and capable of carrying 1,000 passengers at sustained speeds of 186 miles per hour. Bullet trains will bolster America’s battle against the climate emergency by electrifying tens of millions of passenger trips, saving millions of barrels of oil, and supporting more sustainable ways of living.
- High-speed rail will also increase the resilience of our transportation networks to the impacts of climate change, providing travelers with a safe and convenient alternative when planes are grounded by extreme weather.
- The new high-speed rail systems will help to alleviate the nation’s acute housing crisis. Bullet trains will allow workers to live in affordably priced communities while commuting by rail to good-paying jobs in high-priced city centers.
- This historic public investment will also create thousands of good, union jobs building, maintaining, and operating the new high-speed rail systems. It will also mobilize an additional $9 billion in private investment.
- It will also stimulate a nationwide high-speed rail supply chain, generating new manufacturing jobs across the country. The Biden-Harris Administration is working with high-speed rail developers to ensure that the vast majority of the materials and components required to build these systems are made in America.
The NCFO applauds the work of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Coalition, an alliance of unions, businesses, and public servants co-chaired by Ray LaHood, Anthony Foxx, and Rod Diridon, which has aggressively advocated for federal and state funding for high-speed rail in recent years. In 2021, the Coalition helped secure the $12 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law program that is funding the $6.1 billion high-speed rail investment. In 2022, the Coalition helped secure a $4.2 billion bond appropriation from the California legislature to continue high-speed rail construction. This year, the Coalition advocated for major investments in Brightline West and California High-Speed Rail and early planning dollars for several other emerging high-speed rail projects.
The NCFO is an affiliate of 32BJ SEIU,the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, making life better for working families and our communities, and building a fair economy.