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Investigation by Adam Andrzejewski originally published by RealClearInvestigations.com and RealClearWire.com
Commuters may want high-speed rail but at what price? Apparently $3 billion. That’s what the U.S. Department of Transportation committed this month for Brightline West, a private intercity passenger railroad, to help build a $12 billion high-speed railway between Las Vegas and Southern California, the Washington Post reported.
Another $3 billion will go to California High-Speed Rail Authority to continue construction of a 500-mile train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The $3 billion for Brightline is “an almost unheard of infusion of federal money for a private project,” the Post reported. The trains would travel 218 miles Las Vegas and suburban Los Angeles at 186 mph by 2028.
The other three-quarters of the project’s cost would be covered by capital and tax-free debt known as private activity bonds to finance the rest. Company officials claim they needed the federal funding to begin construction.
Brightline West received a $25 million federal grant in June to pay for the design and construction of two stations in California.
Brightline, which is the only private intercity passenger railroad in the U.S., says it would take travelers along the median of the interstate between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Rail advocates say the train would remove about 3 million vehicles from the road, create 35,000 jobs and increase tourism between Nevada and California.
The rail company – which recently expanding it Florida service to Orlando – still hasn’t said how much they’ll charge customers to travel on their private trains. Its website states: “Ticket pricing will be determined closer to the start of operations but can be expected to be priced on par with the cost of gas and parking, but without the stress and extra time in traffic, fluctuating gas prices, and other things that can add time and money to your trip.”
Brightline is aiming its construction completion and opening to be in time for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
While that’s nice to have for the Olympic games, why should taxpayers give a private train company $3 billion of their dollars?
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This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.