Last week, manna fell from heaven for two high-speed rail lines which would one day shuttle passengers from Southern California to the Bay Area and Las Vegas. But the effort to shore up the existing rail corridor which serves both the Los Angeles and San Diego areas will have to settle for relative crumbs, at least for now.
This week, the California Transportation Commission announced $300 million in awards for climate resiliency project across the state. Among the jurisdictions to receive money was the Orange County Transportation Authority, which has secured $15 million for its Coastal Rail Infrastructure Resiliency Project - described as an effort to develop solutions to service suspensions along a troubled stretch of the LOSSAN rail corridor between San Clemente and Dana Point. Service on both Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink has been interrupted multiple times in the past year due to the rail line's location above a crumbling coastal bluff.
The resiliency project may help to avoid prolonged outages of the LOSSAN corridor, the solutions offered are intended to serve for the short and medium terms. Ultimately, due to the impacts of coastal erosion through climate change, transportation officials intend to ultimately replace the endangered seaside tracks in San Clemente with a new rail tunnel. The State Transportation commission previously awarded $5.5 million toward that effort, which will ultimately cost an estimated $4 billion.
Likewise, the Federal Railroad Administration announced a series of smaller $500,000 awards to other rail projects in California, including Brightline West and California High Speed Rail, which will go toward planning activities. Additionally, the High Desert Corridor - which would connect the two high-speed rail services, has been awarded $500,000 for a route between Palmdale and Victor Valley.
Caltrans also received a series of $500,000 awards for other rail lines in development, including:
- new rail service between San Luis Obispo and San Jose along a corridor currently only served by the Coast Starlight;
- a planned rail line between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley; and
- upgrades to the Pacific Surfliner as well as an extension of service south from San Diego to San Ysidro.
While the funding awards are relatively small given the scale of these projects, the upfront payments are intended to commit the FRA to funding later phases of planning and development for these projects, per @numble.
Follow us on social media: