Thursday, March 05, 2009

Capitol Corridor list: 10 projects "shovel ready"

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Northern California’s Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) says it’s prepared to target up to $98 million in federal Stimulus Package funding to 10 “shovel-ready” projects, and has the list prepared for federal officials to evaluate March 9, when CCJPA representatives will be in Washington. Total cost of the projects involved is $144 million.

“This is the first time that the federal lawmakers have set aside a significant investment for intercity passenger rail, and we want to make sure that the Capitol Corridor is part of the grant process,” CCJPA Chair Jim Holmes said in a statement. “We intend to meet with legislators and policymakers to attest that we have $98 million of intercity rail improvement projects that are good to go, can create jobs immediately, and will result in permanent long-term employment as well.”

CCJPA will seek to tap two funding sources identified with the $8 billion slotted for high speed and conventional intercity rail: the Capital Assistance for Intercity Passenger Rail Service, and Congestion Grants. CCJPA Managing Director Eugene Skoropowski noted, “California has a 17-year proven track record in making capital intercity rail improvements by partnering with the freight railroads”—in the case of the Capitol Corridor, Union Pacific. “These federal stimulus dollars are another incremental step in the CCJPA’s successful partnership with Union Pacific.”

Among the projects CCJPA identifies for startup within 90 to 120 days:

Emeryville Station and Track Improvement (Alameda County), $10 million;

Capitalized Systemwide Track Maintenance (Capitol Corridor Route), $2 million;

San Jose Track and Station Project (Santa Clara County-partnership with Caltrain) Request, $6 million (total cost: $52 million);

Bahia-Benicia Second Crossover (City of Benicia), $2 million;

Wireless/Wired Network Program (Systemwide), $10 million;

Ticketing, Passenger Communications (Systemwide), $8 million;

Santa Clara and Newark Track Project, $25 million; and

Yolo Causeway West Crossover (West of Sacramento), $7 million.

Projects identified by CCJPA that can begin within 180 days include the Hayward Double Track Project (City of Hayward), $22 million, and Sacramento Station & Track Facilities Construction, estimated at $6 million (total cost: $56 million).

“These are not mega-projects but relatively modest investments that will improve reliability, expand track capacity, and continue our service improvements to the public,” Skoropowski said. “Federal stimulus money invested into Capitol Corridor puts contractors to work in the short term and creates permanent long-term employment as added train services are implemented.”

Besides UP, CCJPA also works with Caltrans, Amtrak, and local communities, providing intercity passenger rail service on a 170-mile route linking the Sacramento area, Oakland, and San Jose/Silicon Valley. 

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