Biden announces billions in funding for high-speed rail projects

President Joe Biden has announced billions in funding for some of the nation’s first high-speed passenger rail projects.

The Biden administration has allocated $8.2bn towards high-speed rails and several other passenger rail projects across the country, according to the White House.

Projects include high-speed rails between Las Vegas and Southern California; California and Nevada; and Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California.

“This is the beginning of the answer to that help is on the way to make sure that Americans as we should have access to just as good rail service or better as people in any other part of the developed world,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told reporters ahead of the 8 December announcement.

The Biden administration highlighted the “thousands of good-paying, union jobs” the projects will create and the environmental benefits of taking “millions of cars off the roads,” according to their release.

A map of Biden administration passenger rail projects in the US (WhiteHouse.Gov)
A map of Biden administration passenger rail projects in the US (WhiteHouse.Gov)

The announcement comes two days after the Biden administration pledged $3bn to the Las Vegas-Southern California high-speed rail project, led by Brightline West. Local officials say it could be operational by 2028, when Los Angeles is set to host the summer Olympics.

Californian officials have long been attempting to build a high-speed rail system in their state but have continued to hit roadblocks. Under President Donald Trump in 2019, the Department of Transportation cancelled a $1bn grant for the Los Angeles-San Francisco train.

At the time, federal officials said the project “repeatedly failed to comply” with the terms of the project’s original 2010 agreement and had “failed to make reasonable progress on the project,” The Independent previously reported.