Passenger Rail Is Making a Comeback: Kiplinger Forecasts

Privately-owned passenger rail lines are popping up in the U.S. which could make getting to popular vacation destinations easier.

Travelers could soon have more options to get where they're going, thanks to new train routes. To help you understand what is going on and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly-experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest...

Here’s something that would have sounded impossible until just recently: Privately owned passenger rail is making a comeback in the U.S. A route operated by Brightline, backed by private equity giant Fortress Investment Group, is already in operation between Miami and West Palm Beach. Service will expand to Orlando starting in September, with the $6 billion project linking the theme parks in central Florida with the two fast-growing metros in the southern part of the state. 

Beyond Florida, Brightline has big plans in the West, with a $12 billion line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Construction is expected to take four years. The firm seeks to control costs by building along existing highway rights-of-way. 

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By contrast, California’s troubled high-speed rail project is nowhere near completion of its planned Los Angeles-to-San Francisco service and has ballooned in cost. Brightline has received some federal transportation funding. But the company says that it can pioneer the comeback of private rail service largely with private dollars.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.