The Redlands Passenger Rail Project will provide a connect to a bullet train to Las Vega.

Brightline has acquired XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor connecting Southern California and Las Vegas.

San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) directors have approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Xpress West to explore the possibility of a privately funded high-speed rail line into Rancho Cucamonga from Las Vegas.

The Redlands Passenger Rail Project, which is more than 50 percent complete, will connect with the Rancho Cucamonga station after passing through the Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino.

The proposal would represent an expansion of Xpress West’s planned service from Las Vegas to Apple Valley, using right of way through the Cajon Pass along Interstate 15 connecting with the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station. The two phases would be privately built and managed by Xpress West.

Under the MOU, the authority and Xpress West would work together and with other stakeholders to evaluate design and right-of-way issues.

“SBCTA is eager to explore innovative transportation solutions that incorporate emerging technologies, reduce the carbon footprint and protect the public interest,” said Ray Wolfe, the authority’s executive director. “The MOU allows us to work with Xpress West in looking outside the box in considering the possibility of a privately built and managed rail system through the Cajon Pass between Apple Valley and Rancho Cucamonga.”

The MOU comes one month after authority’s board instructed staff to assess the feasibility of tunneling from the Rancho Cucamonga station to Ontario International Airport.

 That followed an unsolicited proposal from The Boring Co. to build the tunnel to connect to the airport. If tunneling is determined to be a viable option, the Board will consider initiating a competitive procurement process.

In addition, the Transportation Authority is managing development of the Redlands Passenger Rail System and the Arrow Service, a nine-mile connector from Redlands to the Metrolink San Bernardino Line that will include the first zero-emission hydrogen-powered passenger trains in North America.

The San Bernardino Line is busiest in the Metrolink system, and includes the Rancho Cucamonga stop.

“We’re grateful that companies such as Xpress West see our county as a promising and nurturing environment for emerging technologies and new solutions to our transportation challenges, and we look forward to exploring this innovative concept with them,” Wolfe said. “Investments like the one here not only answers a need but can introduce billions of dollars of jobs and development to our region. We’re eager to see how this plan fits in to our county’s increasingly vital role in connecting people and places throughout Southern California and beyond.”