The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the Friends of Riverside's Hills reached a settlement to end litigation that has blocked the development of the Perris Valley Line Metrolink Project.
As part of the settlement, RCTC has agreed to contribute funding for project betterments including additional soundproofing of homes in the University Neighborhood and acquisition of additional habitat and recreational trail development in the Box Springs area. The value of these improvements is over two and a half million dollars.
“This is a critical public transit project that will help Riverside County, as well as all of Southern California,” said Marion Ashley, a Riverside County supervisor who serves as the vice chairman of RCTC. “We’ve always had a great project; this settlement makes it even better.”
The Perris Valley Line project would extend the current Metrolink 91 Line to a number of new locations, including the Hunter Park Business Complex in Riverside and the March Air Reserve Base. The project has also received approval for $75 million in federal funding and was included in a transportation expenditure plan approved by voters in 2002.
As part of the environmental process, RCTC had previously included a number of community enhancements, including sound walls near schools, improved rail crossings, sound attenuation for nearby homes and enhanced infrastructure that enables the city of Riverside to institute a quiet zone in the area that will prohibit trains from sounding their horns. The commission also addressed a number of issues raised from the Riverside Unified School District and the city of Riverside.
“We are pleased that the environmental and community benefits of the project have been significantly increased by this agreement,” said Len Nunney, secretary of Friends of Riverside’s Hills. “It will help the most heavily-impacted homeowners in the neighborhood and increase preservation of the natural open space area near to the tracks that is part of an important linkage between Box Springs Mountain Reserve and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park.”
RCTC has already completed the procurement process and is poised to award a construction contract to Ames Construction, pending judicial concurrence with the settlement and Federal Transit Administration authorization of the grant agreement.