CalSTA grants to aid Amtrak, Metrolink

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is one of seven California agencies operating passenger rail to receive 2018 TIRCP (Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program) grants from CalSTA (California State Transportation Agency).

TIRCP will provide $2.6 billion to 28 projects statewide in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by improving rail and transit services. The TIRCP program is funded through Senate Bill (SB) 1 and proceeds from the state’s Cap and Trade program.

LOSSAN’s $188.3 million grant includes $147.9 million to address current and future constraints on the northern section of the LOSSAN rail corridor in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties by constructing additional double track and siding extensions, improving stations and train layover facilities, upgrading signals and switches, and providing incentives to host railroads for improved Pacific Surfliner on‐time performance.

The remaining $40.4 million will fund projects in San Diego County that will improve Pacific Surfliner and COASTER rail service by investing in signal improvements, creating a more robust capital maintenance program, and installing new fencing along the railroad right-of-way. Funding is also provided to conduct a feasibility study for a new maintenance and layover facility for Pacific Surfliner trains in downtown San Diego.

Several other Southern California rail and transit agencies received 2018 TIRCP grants for projects that will enhance connectivity with the Pacific Surfliner service on the LOSSAN rail corridor, including:

  • Anaheim Transportation Network: Purchase 40 zero-emission buses to provide more service to Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center: $28.6 million.
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: New light-rail and bus rapid transit extensions; better integration with Metrolink and Amtrak rail services: $330.2 million.
  • SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments): Construction of multi-modal transit islands to enhance access to local transit services: $5.8 million

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System – Blue Line trolley improvements to increase frequency; addition of bus rapid transit service connecting to Blue Line trolley, including zero-emission buses and station improvements: $40.1 million.

  • Santa Barbara County Association of Governments: In coordination with Ventura County Transportation Commission, expand Coastal Express bus service between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to complement Pacific Surfliner service, including purchase of five zero-emission buses: $9.6 million. Also, construct improvements at Goleta train station to accommodate improved bus and transit service, including shuttles from Santa Barbara Airport and the University of California, Santa Barbara: $13.0 million.

Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA/Metrolink): The Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion program will allow enhanced Metrolink and Pacific Surfliner rail service, including new run-through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station, and more frequent Metrolink service, including along the LOSSAN rail corridor in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties: $763.7 million.

CalSTA received 47 applications from rail and transit agencies throughout the state requesting a total of $10.9 billion in 2018 TIRCP funding. A detailed list of awarded projects published by CalSTA, can be viewed HERE.

The Pacific Surfliner travels along a 351-mile coastal rail route through San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, serving 29 stations. It is the busiest state-supported intercity passenger rail route in the U.S., with 24 daily trains and annual ridership of nearly three million.

The LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency is a joint powers authority composed of rail owners, operators and planning agencies along the entire LOSSAN rail corridor. In addition to working to improve passenger rail ridership, revenue, on-time performance, operational flexibility and safety, the LOSSAN Agency assumed management responsibility for the Pacific Surfliner service in July 2015, following execution of an interagency transfer agreement with the State of California.

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