Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Perris Valley Line groundbreaking looms

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Construction of Metrolink's 24-mile Perris Valley Line extension in southern California is expected to begin next month, backed by $75 million in additional federal funding announced Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

The Perris Valley Line is considered an extension of Metrolink's 91 Line, according to the Riverside County Transportation Commission. The rail extension runs roughly southeast from Riverside, Calif., the namesake county seat, to Perris, Calif.

Riverside currently is served by three Metrolink lines, including the Riverside Line and the 91 Line, both terminating as Los Angeles Union Station, and the Inland Empire-Orange County Line, connecting Riverside with points in Orange and San Diego counties, terminating in Oceanside.

Estimated travel time from Perris to Los Angeles Union Station is two hours and 10 minutes, though Metrolink expects most riders on the line will be traveling to other midpoint locations involving shorter travel times, including Riverside, Fullterton, or Corona.

A Metrolink spokesman said the Perris Valley extension will be the first major extension of the network since the mid-1990s, and will add roughly 4,300 riders each weekday.

Total federal funding of roughly $138 million, including the $75 million package, adds up to 55% of the $248 million estimated cost of the project. State and local sources also will contribute.

The line had encountered resistance from local environmental groups, backed to some degree by court decisions earlier this year, but last July activists ceased litigation measures, citing concessions offered that were amenable to local concerns.

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