Thursday, December 07, 2017

Downtown San Bernardino rail extension complete

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The Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project has officially been concluded, according to a joint announcement by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), Omnitrans, Metrolink and the city of San Bernardino.

"We are excited to complete the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project," said SBCTA Board President Alan Wapner. "The extension of Metrolink service to downtown San Bernardino will offer local residents more transit options and bring in new patrons for local businesses."

Wapner added that the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project helps to make way for a future commuter rail system to the city of Redlands, further establishing public transit enhancements in the county.

"The new Tier 4 locomotive is Metrolink's future and ours here in the Inland Empire. It is the cleanest, most powerful and safest diesel locomotive in the nation," said Metrolink Board Chair Andrew Kotyuk. "When all 40 are deployed, it will be equivalent to reducing the annual emissions of 31,320 vehicles. They're also more fuel efficient than standard locomotives."

Beginning Dec. 16, Metrolink's San Bernardino and Inland Empire/Orange County lines will be extended by one mile from the Santa Fe Depot to the newly finished San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC).

Officials noted SBTC serves as a key multi-modal hub, linking many transportation options such as Omnitrans local routes, the sbX Green Line and nearby transit agencies including Mountain Transit, Pass Transit and Victor Valley Transit Authority.

Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) connections will also begin in January 2018. In addition to the extension, the rail project entailed constructing a new safe pedestrian overpass at the Santa Fe Depot and grade-crossing safety improvements.

Arrow, the upcoming passenger rail service that will connect San Bernardino to Redlands, is intended to improve rail connectivity beyond San Bernardino with its anticipated 2021 launch, officials said.

The project will be the result of more than 10 years of partnership between SBCTA, Omnitrans and Metrolink, officials said.

Metrolink and SBCTA began the project in 2014, and it was funded by a combination of sources, including about $23 million from the Federal Transit Administration, $36 million from state resources and $64 million Measure I and Local funds from the SBCTA.

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