California State Senate Requests Action on Surf Line

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak Pacific Surfliner along the coast of southern California

SACRAMENTO –– Seven California state senators have written a letter to the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) requesting coordinated action to address the continuing problems of erosion and mudslides that have disrupted traffic on the the Surf Line route for many months.

In the letter, the seven senators say “It is clear that a formalized partnership, with required deliverables, between the State, CalSTA, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, track owners, and operators is needed for the corridor to achieve its goals. We respectfully request that all existing authorities available to CalSTA be utilized to begin that effort immediately. Additionally, we ask that CalSTA identify where future legislative action may be necessary for CalSTA to effectively manage the rail corridor and ensure all stakeholders are working together toward a shared vision.”

The California State Senate actually formed what they call The Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency. The goal of this organization is “to recognize that the 351-route mile LOSSAN (Los Angeles –– San Diego –– San Luis Obispo) coastal railroad corridor is in urgent need of both attention and action.”

The Senate letter goes on to say that “This existing corridor is at risk of critical failures that threaten service and further loss of ridership. The corridor moved more than 8.3 million trips in FY 2019 and is now operating at less than half of that ridership –– a projected 3.9 million trips annually based on the fourth quarter of FT 2023 ridership data. The corridor cannot provide the level of service needed to attract and retain ridership while facing prolonged track closures, unreliable service, infrequent trains, and poor rider experience. Gaining ridership in what has historically been the second-busiest intercity rail line in the nation requires us to think differently and boldly.”

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