Lunar New Year TAP cards are now available at LA Metro Customer Centers and select rail stations. Also, new efforts to bring high-speed rail to downtown San Francisco include a price tag of $6.7 billion; Link21 announced appointment of 18 members to its newly formed Equity Advisory Council; and Brightline continues train testing at higher speeds in Palm Beach County in preparation for opening to Orlando.
New Lunar New Year TAP cards commemorating the Year of the Rabbit are now available at Metro Customer Centers and at the following Metro rail stations:
C Line (Green)
- Long Beach Blvd
B Line (Red)
- Union Station
- Civic Center
- 7th Metro Center
- Universal City
A Line (Blue)
- Grand Avenue
- Pacific Coast Highway
G Line (Orange)
- Pierce College
- North Hollywood
L Line (Gold)
- Union Station
- Chinatown Station
- Sierra Madre Villa Station
E Line (Expo)
- Expo Park/USC
- Downtown Santa Monica
J Line (Silver)
- El Monte
TAP cards can be used for travel on Metro and 25 additional transit agencies throughout LA County. Cards are $2 plus the cost of fare. Available while supplies last.
Calif. High-Speed Rail
According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, high-speed rail to downtown San Francisco is back on track with an estimated cost of $6.7 billion, up from $5 billion in 2016.
“This is the estimated cost to bring commuter trains and a route for high-speed rail service from Mission Bay to First and Mission streets by 2023,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle report. “Besides the inflation that comes with the passage of seven years, transit planners say the revised budget accounts for extra costs that could arise in the decade that it would take to complete the 2-mile extension.”
News of the high-speed extension’s revival comes five years after the debut of San Francisco’s transit center, which features only buses and a rooftop regional park. Now, regional transit agencies are “gearing up to try to win the federal funding necessary to add rail service to the mix,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle report, “for all the skepticism that has surrounded the rail extension to the station that runs behind Salesforce Tower — and is called Salesforce Transit Center after the tech behemoth purchased naming rights for 25 years in 2017—the campaign got a boost in 2021. That year, after the passage of an infrastructure bill by Congress, the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) said the extension was eligible to apply for part of the bill’s $23 billion set aside for new transit projects.”
In April, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which operates the transit center, will apply to federal officials, assuming its eight-member Board of Directors gives the green light next month, according to the San Francisco Chronicle report.
“The local schedule calls for a bid for full funding to follow in August. If this is successful, the downtown extension would be part of the 2024 federal budget and the grant could be signed off in early 2025. From then, Washington would pay half of all project costs up to $6.7 billion,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle report, “an underground rail connection has been part of the center’s concept since planning began in 1999, and the first phase included a federally funded concrete shell to hold the platform. But expansion plans were put on hold as costs swelled from $1.6 billion to $2.26 billion for the first phase—the futuristic three-block-long structure that spans First and Fremont streets and is cloaked in an undulating veil of perforated white metal.”
According to Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Adam Van de Water, construction of the tunnel beneath Townsend and Second streets to the existing station could begin in 2025, which would allow service to begin in 2032, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Link21 on Jan. 19 announced the selection of 18 community members for appointment to the newly formed Equity Advisory Council (EAC) following “months of recruitment and a rigorous selection process.”
Link21, which is sponsored by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), is working with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and other transportation partners to “create a connected, equitable and accessible network of train service that cares for people, the environment and quality of life for generations to come.” A new train crossing between Oakland and San Francisco is the core of the program.”
According to Link21, members will serve a two-year term and be compensated for contributing their time, and “lived experience” or professional familiarity in technical and/or policy areas, such as passenger rail transportation and land use, housing, environmental, environmental justice, transit justice and economic development.
Link21 received a “robust response” from people who interested in service on the EAC and the following individuals were selected from a large pool of applicants who “represent diversity of the 21-county Northern California Megaregion, including low-income communities, communities of color, and young people that have been most impacted by transportation inequities, as well as other communities that have historically been underserved.”
The EAC consists of the following members:
- Ameerah Thomas, Oakland
- Angela E. Hearring, Sacramento
- Beth Kenny, Alameda
- Clarence Fischer, Cherryland
- Cory Mickels, San Francisco
- David Sorrell, Union City
- David Ying, San Leandro
- Elizabeth Madrigal, Seaside
- Fiona Yim, Berkeley
- Gracyna Mohabir, San Jose
- Harun David, Richmond
- Landon Hill, Oakland
- Linda Braak, Davis
- Maya Amichai, Oakland
- Samia Zuber, San Francisco
- Stevon Cook, Oakland
- Taylor Booker, Hercules
- Vanessa Ross Aquino, San Francisco
“Equity is integral to every aspect of Link21,” said Link21 Program Director Sadie Graham. “We created the EAC to help shape the Program’s planning of passenger rail improvements in the Northern California Megaregion. The EAC will serve as an advisory body to the Link21 Program, providing input and guidance on key milestones. The EAC will provide a space for meaningful community collaboration to help advance equity throughout the development and implementation of the Link21 Program. We are committed to listening to and learning from the EAC members, and the community input they will contribute.”
Link21 will host its first two EAC meetings in January and February 2023, with subsequent meetings scheduled approximately every other month. Meetings will be held virtually and will be open to the public for brief comments with livestreaming. Information, agendas and other materials will be available in advance of each meeting.
Brightline announced Jan. 17 that it will continue critical work on its Orlando extension with train testing in northern Palm Beach County that will see trains travel up to 79 mph. The train testing is expected to take place through 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.
The signal and track cutover work will integrate a new second railroad track into the existing corridor and will take place along a 7-mile section of track, spanning seven railroad crossings through Tequesta and Jupiter.
According to Brightline, flaggers will be present at all crossings while the new rail signal system is commissioned, and train testing can be expected along the corridor. Work could bring additional wait times at railroad crossings.