Posted on: December 9, 2023, 09:28h.
Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 09:28h.
President Joe Biden stopped in Las Vegas Friday where he touted $3B in federal aid for a high-speed rail line between the city and California.
It’s getting done after years of planning and discussion.
“Together, we are finally going to make high-speed rail happen between Las Vegas and Los Angeles,” the president told a crowd of enthusiastic unionized carpenters.
The 218-mile rail line will extend between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. That city is some 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
Once complete, the route is expected to carry more than 11M passengers each year. It’s been proposed since Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, D, was in office.
Harry Reid, I told you to 35 years ago to get this sucker done,” Biden said while looking upward toward the heaven to remember the late senator. “We’re getting it done.”
Biden recalled how getting stuck in highway traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is a real “pain in the neck.” The drive can take up to seven hours.
But once the rail line is operating, the journey will take about two hours at speeds up to 186 miles an hour.
The project means there will be more visitors to Las Vegas. That will lead to more jobs and money for the region, Biden said.
It’s scheduled to be operational before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. That will make it easier for crowds to travel to Las Vegas.
Biden also repeated stories on how he used to take Amtrak rail service daily between Washington, D.C. and his home in Delaware.
“I’m a railroad guy,” he told the carpenters. “I’ve ridden on rail probably more than all of you combined.”
During his visit, Biden met with UNLV administrators and students following this week’s deadly shooting of three professors at the UNLV campus.
Those killed included Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, of Henderson, Nev.; Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, of Las Vegas; and Naoko Takemaru, 69, of Las Vegas.
Biden honored the two campus police officers who shot the assailant dead before more victims could be injured or killed.
I’m grateful to the law enforcement officers who risked their lives and safety in the shooting,” Biden said. “You saved lives. We join the people across the country praying for the families of those killed, whose hearts have been broken by yet another horrific gun violence.”
He also recalled the Las Vegas mass shooting of six years ago which left many dead and hundreds injured.
The gun violence led Biden to repeat calls for legislation.
“The Second Amendment didn’t say you could own any gun — you could own any weapon,” Biden said. “You couldn’t own a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed.”
During his appearance, Biden also honored two Nevada troopers, Sgt. Michael Abbate and Trooper Alberto Felix, killed recently on I-15 after they were plowed into by an allegedly intoxicated hit and run driver.
While in Las Vegas, Biden also took some swipes at former President Donald Trump, who is now the frontrunner among Republicans to run against Biden in 2024.