Biden Announces $8.2 Billion for 10 Rail Projects, Including America’s First High-Speed Rail System

By Cathalijne Adams
Dec 10 2023 |
Photo screenshot from The White House YouTube

To celebrate the investment, President Biden traveled to Las Vegas, the site of what will be America’s first high-speed rail system.

The Biden administration is granting $8.2 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to fund 10 passenger rail projects, President Biden announced Friday in Las Vegas, where America’s first true high-speed rail system is being built to connect with Los Angeles.

“When I ran for president, I made a commitment to build a world-class, high-speed rail worthy of the United States of America to put our nation back on track with the fastest, safest, and greenest railways in the world and, finally, to bring high-speed rail to our nation,” Biden said. “Today, I’m here to deliver on that vision. You have no idea how much this pleases me.”

In sum, the Biden administration has announced $30 billion for U.S. rail projects, and the BIL has supported more than 40,000 infrastructure projects of all kinds nationwide.

The Las Vegas-LA rail line, for which $3 billion has been granted, will make a trip that can take up to seven hours by car just two hours by train and can shuttle 11 million passengers to Las Vegas every year. The all-electric rail system will remove an estimated 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the highway, the White House stated.  

And it’ll all be done by the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, so game attendees from around the world can make a quick trip to Los Vegas while they’re in LA.

“Look, folks, but what it really means, it means growth,” Biden said. “It means opportunity for towns and communities between here and the California coast.”

The project is expected to generate 35,000 jobs during the construction phase with 10,000 union jobs in the building trades, according to the White House. And, once the rail system is complete, union workers will operate it. Once in service, the rail system will support 1,000 permanent jobs.

“Our infrastructure used to be the best in the world. When I took office, we were ranked 13 in the world in our infrastructure: roads, bridges, et cetera. Now we’re turning it around in a big way. We’re in an economic competition for the 21st century,” Biden said in reference to China’s deep investment in its own high-speed rail projects.

Biden highlighted his administration’s infrastructure achievements in contrast to Donald Trump’s record and Republican opposition to the BIL.  

“All of this project stands in stark contrast to my predecessor. He always talked about ‘Infrastructure Week.’ Four years of Infrastructure Week. But it failed. He failed,” Biden said. “On my watch, instead of Infrastructure Week, America is having an Infrastructure Decade.”

The president also responded to the Employment Situation Summary report that the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday. According to the report, manufacturing gained 28,000 jobs in November, but Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul attributed the uptick to the “successful resolution of the autoworkers’ strikes” and cautioned that manufacturing employment has seen little net growth this year.

Still, since Biden took office, more than 14 million jobs have been created, according to the president, who acknowledged the public’s frustration with inflation.

“Let me be clear: Now that we’ve rebuilt supply chains and brought down costs, any corporation that is not passing on these savings along to consumers needs to stop this price gouging,” the president said. “The American people are tired of being played for suckers.”

In addition to the $8.2 billion funding for passenger rail, $34.5 million will be directed to the Corridor Identification and Development program to guide development on 69 rail corridors across 44 states.