Joe Biden Las Vegas Visit Focus on High-Speed Train, UNLV Shooting Victims

Posted on: December 9, 2023, 09:28h. 

Last updated on: December 11, 2023, 11:48h.

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.

President Joe Biden in a Las Vegas appearance
President Joe Biden in a Las Vegas appearance, pictured above. He touted federal aid for a high-speed rail project and honored the victims of the UNLV mass shooting. (The Sun)

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.

Planning for the route has been in talks for many years. It’s been proposed since Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, D, was in office. But after decades of waiting, Biden promised the crowd of unionized carpenters that the high-speed rail between Vegas and L.A. was finally going to happen.

Harry Reid, I told you 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 told the crowd.

The train is scheduled to be operational before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. That will make it easier for crowds to travel to Las Vegas.

Remembering Victims

During his visit, Biden met with UNLV administrators and students following this week’s deadly shooting of three professors at the UNLV campus. Biden honored the two campus police officers who shot the assailant dead before more victims could be injured or killed.

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 also called for more legislation to prohibit gun violence.

The Second Amendment didn’t say you could own any gun — you could own any weapon,” Biden said in an appearance.  “You couldn’t own a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed.”

Biden also honored two Nevada troopers, Sgt. Michael Abbate and Trooper Alberto Felix, who were 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 front-runner among Republicans to oppose Biden in the 2024 presidential election.