The Brightline West high-speed rail project is a game-changer for the Inland Empire, bringing new and advanced economic development, mobility and career opportunities to Southern California’s most dynamic population center, local leaders said Monday.

The eagerly anticipated project, which will provide electrified high-speed rail service between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, cleared one of its final hurdles this past week when the Biden Administration announced $3 billion in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

It is being hailed as one of the largest public investments ever for a privately built transportation system and a critical final step toward the start of construction, which could begin by early 2024.

On Monday, elected officials, business leaders and community stakeholders from across San Bernardino County gathered at Cucamonga Station to celebrate the funding announcement and the far-reaching impact the Brightline West project will have on the region. Construction alone will support more than 11,000 jobs each year and bring $5 billion in spending to the county, $300 million of it to Rancho Cucamonga, city officials said.

“This high-speed rail system will be a significant economic driver for San Bernardino County, while improving connectivity and reducing congestion between here and Las Vegas,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe, who also serves as president of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority Board of Directors. “It also will provide an efficient, sustainable transit solution through the Cajon Pass, which opens up new business employment and housing opportunities between the High Desert and East and West Valleys.”

“We are thrilled to witness the realization of this transformative project that connects our dynamic regions,” said Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael. “This strategic investment in cutting-edge infrastructure not only opens doors to jobs, economic growth, tourism, and commercial ventures but also enhances Southern California’s global connectivity.”

The high-speed rail project comes as San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire have established themselves as the new center of Southern California. Now the 12th largest metropolitan area in the United States, the two-county region will add nearly 1 million new residents by 2050, according to the California Department of Finance. By contrast, Los Angeles County is expected to lose population.

The project also puts a spotlight on the county’s growth as an economic and travel destination, centered at Cucamonga Station and nearby Ontario International Airport (ONT). Plans are underway to redevelop the station into a state-of-the-art multimodal transportation center that may serve as many as 11 million passengers per year using the high-speed rail service. A partnership has been formed between the City of Rancho Cucamonga, ONT, San Bernardino County, SBCTA, Omnitrans and Metrolink to maximize the arrival of the Brightline West project.

“The arrival of Brightline West and the new Cucamonga Station underscore how the Inland Empire and western San Bernardino County have become a transportation hub and economic driver for Southern California and beyond. These projects align perfectly with Ontario International Airport’s mission of connecting people, places and opportunities to build a better world, and we applaud all who were involved in securing this critical funding,” said Atif Elkadi, CEO of the Ontario International Airport Authority. Added Michael Krouse, President and CEO of Greater Ontario California (GOCAL), “This is an exciting moment for Greater Ontario and Southern California as a whole. The Brightline West and Cucamonga Station projects are game-changers for our region, bringing in more visitors, providing more opportunities to connect workers with job opportunities, and showcasing all that Greater Ontario has to offer from a hospitality, entertainment and economic perspective. At GOCAL, we are honored to support the Vegas-to-Rancho Cucamonga high-speed rail line and the development of the new Cucamonga Station.”

Kome Ajise, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), described the project as critical to meeting the growth needs of the region.

“We congratulate Brightline West for its vision and commitment to bringing high-speed rail to Southern California. This extraordinary infusion of federal grant funding into a private project is a tribute to Brightline West, as well as Caltrans and every other stakeholder group that has collaborated on this innovative transportation solution. In a short amount of time, the Las Vegas-to-Rancho Cucamonga high-speed rail connector has become one of the most highly anticipated transportation projects in the U.S., and we look forward to celebrating its upcoming groundbreaking and eventual launch.”

“With Brightline West, Metrolink, West Valley Connector bus rapid transit service and direct shuttle service to and from Ontario International Airport, Cucamonga Station is becoming one of the most important transportation centers in Southern California. At Omnitrans, we are proud to partner on the expansion of this regional transit hub and look forward to providing additional connections for commuters across our region,” said Erin Rogers, CEO and General Manager of Omnitrans.

Additional County Update News – December 15, 2023

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