The missing link for Brightline West’s Las Vegas-to-Los Angeles high-speed rail service now appears to be in plain site.
Brightline West has secured right-of-way for a 49-mile connector route that starts at Victor Valley, Nev., moves through Cajon Pass, and links to a Metrolink station in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. From there, passengers could take a Metrolink train to Union Station in Los Angeles.
The Federal Railroad Administration also is conducting an environmental review of the route, which is expected to be complete in November.
It appears the high-speed route will receive power from an overhead electrical line, which will require the construction of a power substation in Hesperia. However, Cajon Pass is known for high winds, which could impact the electrical line and interrupt service. Downed lines also could increase the risk of wildfires.
Brightline West is anticipating the entire project to cost $8 billion. There was an attempt back in 2020 to issue up to $3.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds, but a lack in demand had Brightline West ending the offer prematurely. A bond-financing package is still being considered, and there is hope the project will receive federal funding as part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was recently passed.