Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Southern California to put $1 billion into existing rail infrastructure

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The Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the California High Speed Rail Authority, other Southern California Transportation Agencies, San Diego Association of Governments and Metrolink to upgrade existing regional rail systems.

The MOU proposes investing $1 billion in existing regional and local commuter rail systems in Southern California to increase interregional connectivity, speed, capacity and safety. Funding for the projects will come from Proposition 1A bonds that were approved by voters in the November 2008 election. The MOU outlines a draft Candidate Project List of early investments by 2020 that include performance criteria.

The proposal recommends that the CHSRA include the MOU in Phase 1 of their 2012 Draft Business Plan. The goal is to implement a "Blended Systems and Blended Operations" concept of upgrading existing rail systems for enhanced speed and capacity in line with a phased implementation strategy for developing a statewide high-speed system.

"SCAG's Regional Council supports the concept of investing unallocated voter approved funds in Southern California's existing rail system. Improving the speed, capacity and safety of our region's transportation system first, enhances the lives of our residents and improves the business environment," stated SCAG President Pam O'Connor.

The remaining Southern California Transportation Agencies will be reviewing the MOU during the month of February with all agencies completing the process by March 1.

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