Tuesday, October 09, 2012

New oversight for LA-San Diego services

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A statement Monday by the LOSSAN Rail Corridor agency commended California Gov. Jerry Brown for signing State Senate Bill 1225, authorizing the transfer of management for the state-supported intercity passenger rail service linking San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo from the state to a local Joint Powers Authority (JPA).

The agency says the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) JPA is made up of the rail owners and operators and regional transportation planning agencies in the six-county southern California coastal region. The route, covered by Amtrak's Pacific Coastliner service, is Amtrak's second-busiest corridor in the U.S., and is shared with COASTER and Metrolink regional passenger train services.

The Pacific Surfliner service is managed by the California Department of Transportation, which supports the service with a share of the $90 million in state funds allocated to intercity rail service annually, the agency says.

Gov. Brown signed the senate bill into law Sept. 29.

"SB 1225 ushers in a new era for passenger rail service in Southern California", said Joe Kellejian, mayor of the City of Solana Beach, Calif., and chair of the LOSSAN Board of Directors. "By transferring the authority for intercity service to the LOSSAN JPA, the service will benefit from an agency that can be more responsive to customer needs and focused on improvements to service."

Along with planned high speed rail service that's part of the state's plan, the agency plans to pursue a "blended" rail approach that includes upgrades to local and regional rail passenger services. "The new governance initiative called for in SB 1225 allows local transportation agencies to work together to integrate the rail network more closely with local transit services to provide better service to the public," said LOSSAN Vice Chair Jacki Bacharach, who represents Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) on the LOSSAN Board of Directors.

A managing agency to oversee the service has not yet been selected.