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Biden to announce $8B in funding for high-speed passenger rail projects

President Biden on Friday will announce $8.2 billion in funding for 10 passenger rail projects, including a high-speed rail system connecting Nevada and California.

Biden will travel to Las Vegas on Friday to make the announcement. He is then set to go to Los Angeles on Friday night and stay through Sunday. The funding comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law’s overall $66 billion investment in rail and Biden, as of Friday, has designated $30 billion for rail projects from that funding.

The Brightline West High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail System Project will receive up to $3 billion to build a new 218-mile intercity passenger rail system between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The goal is to make the rail trip slightly longer than two hours, which would be nearly twice as fast as driving.

Just more than $3 billion of the funding will go towards a high-speech rail service in California’s Central Valley to extend the rail line between Bakersfield and Merced and to connect communities in other parts of northern and southern California.

The goal is for the line to be complete by the 2028 Olympics, which Los Angeles is hosting, to offer transportation during the games.

Additionally, $1.1 billion will go to build additional parts of the Southeast Corridor from Raleigh to Wake Forest, N.C., and $729 billion will go to a new rail bridge over the Potomac River to expand passenger rail between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va.

“Any American who has traveled to other countries has likely seen how countries in Europe and East Asia approach passenger rail,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on a call with reporters about the new funding. “[They] return home to wonder why Americans can’t have that too.”

The secretary said that, if all goes to plan, people will experience true high-speed rail on American soil before the end of this decade.

The announcement follows $16.4 billion announced last month for rail projects along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. That funding will go to 25 passenger rail projects, including replacing the Frederick Douglass Tunnel in Maryland to increase train speed through it, from 30 mph to 110 mph.

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