California and Vegas Will Soon Be Connected

( – In 2008, California voters approved a ballot measure providing funding for a high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) limited the project’s scope to a 171-mile stretch in the state’s Central Valley in early 2019. Construction of the so-called “bullet train” has faced mounting hurdles since then and is widely considered a failure. Nevertheless, the Biden administration recently decided to award the state billions of dollars, and Newsom plans to spend some of it on expanding the system to include service to Las Vegas.

On December 5, Newsom’s office issued a press release announcing the White House’s decision to grant California $6 billion in federal taxpayer money to help construct its high-speed rail system. The notice said the funds could be used for the entire system, including the hubs already designated under the original referendum vote. They included the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with the new addition of California’s “neighbors to the east.”

The statement advised that the governor’s office would allocate nearly $3.1 billion to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Those funds are slated to go towards existing construction in California’s Central Valley with the long-term goal of connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Likewise, Newsom plans to designate the remaining roughly $3 billion for another project headed by a private company called Brightline. The plan is to build a separate rail line connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Newsom’s office is promoting the project by claiming that 80% of its construction inside California would eventually benefit the state’s labor market and overall economy.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be any significant blowback regarding the announcement or the decision to award California those funds. However, some sites like Breitbart News expressed a healthy dose of skepticism about the project’s chance of success. The media outlet pointed to the expansion of the project’s estimated budget from $33 billion to roughly $113 billion. There’s also the original completion date of 2020 to consider.

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