Brightline CEO: Vegas-to-LA high-speed rail line still on track to break ground in 2021LAS VEGAS — A top executive behind a high-speed rail project that would lay tracks between Las Vegas and
Vegas To LA Highspeed Rail Line Still On Track To Break Ground In 2021
Dated: April 12 2021
Brightline CEO: Vegas-to-LA high-speed rail line still on track to break ground in 2021
Las Vegas — A top executive behind a high-speed rail project that would lay tracks between Las Vegas and Southern California contends construction is on schedule to start in the second quarter of this year.
However, Brightline West CEO Mike Reininger did not give the Reno Gazette Journal a definitive date on when shovels would strike dirt to commence the 170-mile Vegas-to-Victorville, California route.
“The world changed as a result of the pandemic, but we continued to work wherever we possibly could towards advancing the ball,” Reininger said. "The project remains a very high priority for us."
Brightline, the country’s only privately owned passenger railroad, sent a letter to the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority in January and revealed the pandemic year created significant hurdles to fund the train expected to reach top speeds of 200 mph.
The company had made progress with intentions to sell private activity bonds allocated for the project by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the states of Nevada and California to pay for construction.“
However,” the letter said, “election uncertainty, the lack of approval of a Covid-19 vaccine, and lack of liquidity in the market did not allow us to price the bonds to provide long-term stability for the company.”
Last year, Brightline announced that Fortress Investment Group, its parent company, had put the brakes on the $8 billion privately financed XpressWest project when it could not complete financing.
In January, Brightline West President Sarah Watterson said her company was preparing a revised financial plan that could see a second-quarter 2021 groundbreaking date. “The tenor of the financial markets today is dramatically different,” Reininger said. "The stock market is doing incredibly well, people are optimistic about a massive rebound in the economy, jobs are heading in the right direction. That gives us confidence about our ability to keep the project on track."
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