Brightline West is back on the drawing board. The high-speed rail line project between Apple Valley, Calif., and Las Vegas, which was paused late last year, is expected to break ground in a few months.
Due to incomplete financing, Brightline and Fortress Investment Group announced the $8 billion Xpress West line would not launch as scheduled. However, Brightline is now preparing a revised financial plan that could put the construction wheels in motion in the second quarter of this year. Changes in the financial plan will most likely include more equity and a bond sale re-launch in 2021. An improving economy and a more stable financial market is assisting in the project comeback.
Execution of primary right-of-way, construction agreements, environmental permitting were all accomplished last year, and the design of the project is about 30 percent complete.
“Concurrent with our work toward starting construction on the Las Vegas-to-Apple Valley project, we have also been in discussions with our stakeholders regarding additional potential projects to connect the high-speed rail line from Apple Valley to the Los Angeles Basin,” Brightline West President Sarah Watterson said.
Among the layout options, Brightline West is looking at continuing tracks south along the I-15 corridor to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and building to Palmdale in conjunction with the High Desert Corridor project.
The hope is that service will begin in 2024.