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President Biden Touts High Speed Rail at Las Vegas Training Center Visit


President Joe Biden addresses union workers at the Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas, NV on Friday

BDN was there as President Joe Biden visited the Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas last week to highlight the $8.2B in federal funding allocated to improve high speed rail across the country. The stop in Vegas was pertinent as one of the showcase rail lines will be Brightline West- a rail service that will connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles.


"At long last, we’re building the first high-speed rail project in our nation’s history. And it’s starting here. It's part of $8.2 billion investment we’re making in 10 major rail projects across America, reaching tens of millions of people. We’re putting high-speed rail on the fast track. Together, we’re finally going to make high-speed rail happen between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Folks, we’ve been talking about this project for decades. Now we’re really getting it done." said the president to an audience of enthusiatic union members.


Brightline West is one of ten new rail projects across the country that will recieve funding. Spanning 218 miles, the train will connect Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, California—located approximately 40 miles to the east of downtown Los Angeles. Once completed, it is expected that ridership could exceed 11 million passengers annually.

 

The President also announced another rail project in California that will connect Los Angeles to the Central Valley and ultimately, San Francisco. The train will be powered entirely by renewable energy and it is estimated that this rail line will carry 31 million passengers annually.


The President is and always has been an avowed passenger rail advocate. He reminisced about his thirty six years as a Senator and the amount of time he logged on Amtrak traveling from his home in Delaware to the Nation's capital. He estimates that he has logged over a million miles on the train service and considers many of the train workers that he encountered on his daily commute as friends.


To loud applause from those in attendance, Biden pointed up the environmental aspects of these projects and their leading to more jobs, "I’m a big environmentalist. That’s why I’m always talking about the environment. When I think environment, I think jobs. Thirty-five thousand jobs during the construction phase; ten thousand union jobs in the building trades: carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, laborers, and more. Jobs, and jobs beyond."


The California rail lines have not been without controversy and In response to inquiries about escalating expenses and increasing delays on the high-speed line, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg conceded during a press call, “They are facing a lot of the challenges that come with being the very first at anything.” However, Buttigieg affirmed, “For all of these projects, we would not be funding them if we did not believe they can deliver.”













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