12/11/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/11/2023 16:41
California Inland Empire Leaders Applaud 'Transformative' High-speed Rail Project, Shine Spotlight on Cucamonga Station Expansion
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - December 11, 2023 - 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.
"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, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (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.
Said Dawn Rowe, President of the SBCTA Board of Directors and Chair of the county Board of Supervisors, "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. 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."
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.
About the City of Rancho Cucamonga
The City of Rancho Cucamonga encompasses nearly 47 square miles and is located 40 miles east of Los Angeles; considered to be the premier city in the Inland Empire, Rancho Cucamonga is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Southern California with a current population of over 175,000 residents. Visit www.cityofrc.us.
Metrolink regional passenger rail service offers reliable, safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation throughout Southern California. Metrolink has 545.6 total service line miles and 66 stations across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties connecting people, communities, and businesses and is an essential link in the region's mobility network. Metrolink's Arrow service, which launched in October 2022 with nine miles of track and four new stations between San Bernardino and Redlands, provides greater local and regional rail connectivity.More information is available at www.metrolinktrains.com.
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which offers nonstop commercial jet service to nearly two dozen major airports in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan. More information is available at www.flyOntario.com.
Established in 1976 through a joint powers agreement, Omnitrans carries approximately 11 million passengers each year throughout its 480-square mile service area, covering 15 cities and portions of the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. Major destinations within the Omnitrans service area include transportation centers, medical centers, educational facilities, shopping malls, business parks, and community centers. More information is available at www.omnitrans.org.
Greater Ontario California (GOCAL) is the official destination marketing organization to promote the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, California to visitors nationally and internationally. As destination experts we provide leisure, meeting groups and meeting professionals with an unbiased, comprehensive resource when booking a tour, convention, meeting or event within the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, California. Ideal for leisure and business travel, the region boasts scenic mountains, deserts, vineyards and metropolitan areas that are both historic and cosmopolitan in character. Under the umbrella of the Greater Ontario California is the California Welcome Center and several Signature Events to support the overall mission to drive visitors to the region, stimulating economic growth. GOCAL provides the necessary destination support tools to execute a successful experience. Visit www.GO-CAL.org.
About San Bernardino County
San Bernardino County is a diverse public service organization serving America's largest county. We are governed by an elected Board of Supervisors and dedicated to creating a community where nearly 2.2 million residents can prosper and achieve well-being as outlined in the Countywide Vision. It is comprised of 42 departments and agencies, which are staffed by more than 25,000 public service professionals who provide a wide range of vital services in the areas of public safety, health care, social services, economic and community development and revitalization, fiscal services, infrastructure, recreation and culture, and internal support. San Bernardino County's organizational culture is defined by the four pillars of value, innovation, service, and vision. Visit www.sbcounty.gov