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Brightline West plans to be a player in Vegas’ pro sports transportation game plan

Updated August 28, 2023 - 9:41 am

The planned Las Vegas-to-Los Angeles high-speed rail line could serve as a major interstate people mover for sporting events.

Brightline President Mike Reininger envisions creating a service that would cater to the various professional sports happenings occurring in Las Vegas, similar to what the company offers in Florida with its rail line there. The company offers targeted service to Miami Heat NBA games, Inter Miami MLS games and college sporting events, with plans to expand the service to Orlando Magic games once that extension is in operation this year.

“We already do just these kinds of packaging with sports teams in Southern Florida today,” Reininger told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this month. “The natural connection between transportation and sporting events is something near and dear to our hearts, something we developed an experience with and we can’t wait to bring that to this market.”

Brightline West is hoping to break ground later this year on the long-talked-about rail line linking Southern Nevada and Southern California, with the service kicking off in 2027. The plan is dependent on the project landing a $3.75 billion grant the private company and the Nevada Department of Transportation applied for this year.

Having the train operating in 2027 could be perfect timing, with the Raiders and Golden Knights already playing in the Las Vegas Valley and the Oakland Athletics planning to begin play at a $1.5 billion Strip ballpark in 2028.

The NCAA men’s Final Four is also scheduled to be played at Allegiant Stadium in 2028 and the NBA could also land in Las Vegas around then, if the Oak View Group’s arena-hotel project is complete by then and the NBA moves ahead with expansion in unison with that.

The planned NBA-ready arena would be located next door to the Brightline West Southern Nevada station planned to be built on a portion of more than 300 acres of land on Las Vegas Boulevard between Blue Diamond and Warm Springs roads.

Additionally, the 2028 Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles.

“The introduction of the sports industry into Las Vegas has in of itself been a huge catalyst for the economy and for sure the structured connectivity that Brightline represents will help,” Reininger said. “The fan bases of the two places (Southern Nevada and Southern California) will be linked in both directions. To have the ability to do it in a really easy, really pleasant way no matter which team you’re a fan of.”

The 218-mile rail system would link Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, California, with stops in Apple Valley and Hesperia. In Rancho Cucamonga, riders can transfer into the greater Los Angeles area via the Metrolink rail service. The fully electric trains can reach speeds in excess of 186 mph and get riders from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga in two hours and 10 minutes, according to Brightline.

Passengers will have access to free on-board Wi-Fi, food and beverages service and checked luggage. Adding the new transportation option will be a big boost to the tourism industry in the state, according to Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

“The minute they get on that train they begin their vacation experience,” Rosen said this month during a news conference on support of Brightline’s federal grant application. “That’s going to be a real game changer for tourists in Nevada.

This column has been updated with the correct location of the Las Vegas Brightline station.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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