Historic MoU signed to construct America’s first “true high-speed rail system”

2 min read

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC), Southern Nevada Building Trades Union and Brightline West have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct America’s first true high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.

The agreement will ensure that Brightline West will be built with unionized labor in California and Nevada, creating nearly 10,000 construction jobs and career opportunities.

Brightline West is a 218-mile system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California within the Interstate 15 right-of-way, with trains capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour. The journey will begin with a station in Rancho Cucamonga, California that will offer direct connectivity with California Metrolink. Additional stations will be built in Hesperia and Apple Valley, California, and Las Vegas.

The US$10bn investment has widespread economic benefits and equally impressive environmental benefits. The fully electric, emission-free system will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the US, removing three million cars and 400,000 tons of CO2 each year.

“The California Building Trades is excited to partner with Brightline West and the Southern Nevada Building Trades on this historic project bringing high-speed rail and thousands of new construction jobs to Southern California and Southern Nevada. Our members are ready to get to work building this vital transportation project linking California to Las Vegas,” said Andrew Meredith, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.

“This is a momentous day for the workers of Southern Nevada, specifically members of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Union, as we announce our partnership with Brightline West and the California Building Trades to create our country’s first true high-speed rail system,” added Vince Saavedra, executive secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Union.

Economic studies show that Brightline West will create more than 35,000 jobs including 10,000 construction jobs and nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance. The project is expected to generate more than US$10bn in economic impact to California and Nevada. The system is projected to have nearly 1,000 permanent jobs for operations and maintenance.

“We continue to build a powerful coalition around Brightline West and our vision for high-speed rail in America,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings. “Brightline West will provide unmatched economic benefits and career opportunities for thousands in Nevada and California. This partnership brings us one step closer to putting a shovel in the ground.”

The recent agreement follows a recent commitment between Brightline West and the High-Speed Rail Labor Coalition to operate and maintain Brightline West. That coalition is comprised of 13 rail unions representing more than 160,000 freight, regional, commuter and passenger railroad workers in the US.

Brightline is the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail service in America. The company currently serves Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach in Florida, with its Orlando station beginning service in 2023.