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State Provides Metrolink with $91.2 million for Rail Safety Improvements

Thursday October 18, 2018

SCORE projects will improve rail safety and service before 2028 LA Olympic Games

LOS ANGELES – Today, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) unanimously approved a $91.2 million allocation to Metrolink to advance design and work on the first projects in the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. SCORE will improve rail safety and service in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. In all, through a CTC approved multi-year grant agreement, Metrolink will receive a total of $875.7 million over six years.

Today’s funds are provided by a Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant to kick start work on SCORE, which is a $10 billion plan to build infrastructure enabling regional passenger rail service frequency to at least 30 minutes systemwide. Other benefits of SCORE include better connections with other transit providers.

“Important infrastructure projects are the targets of these funds with major improvement projects scheduled for the six-county region,” said California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Secretary Brian C. Annis. “Not only will these cap and trade and SB 1 investments bring thousands of new jobs, but they will make Metrolink more reliable and provide an alternative to driving in Southern California.”

TIRCP grant funding comes from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and Senate Bill 1 to fund transformative capital improvements that will modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“California has a dynamic economy that relies on our ability to move people and goods efficiently,” said CTC Chair Fran Inman. “Continual investments in the state’s transportation infrastructure is essential to providing jobs, improving our environment and maintaining our quality of life.”

Metrolink currently provides 441 million passenger miles annually, while the average one-way Metrolink trip length is 35 miles. With 82 percent of Metrolink riders having an automobile and choosing to take the train, Metrolink directly reduces freeway congestion. Ultimately, SCORE’s goals include the addition of 35.5 million net new riders after 2028, along with the elimination of on average 62.5 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from congested Southern California highways, annually, from 2028 and beyond.

SCORE funds more frequent, reliable and faster Metrolink and Amtrak service providing an alternative to crowded freeways and helps reduce air pollution. Included in SCORE are targeted investments for capacity improvements at Los Angeles Union Station and on tracks between Los Angeles and Fullerton, one of the busiest freight corridors in the region.

“As our state’s economy and population continue to grow, adding more capacity for passenger and freight rail is a critical component in preventing a future mobility crisis, and ensuring continued prosperity to our region,” said California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who represents Fullerton. “California is a world leader in innovation and technology. As such, we should continue to invest in public modes of transportation like this, which is economically sound for our working families and students into the future.”

Other mobility benefits include safety, signal and track upgrades that enable more “Quiet Zones” where trains do not routinely sound their horns when approaching at-grade crossings.

In addition to Fullerton and Los Angeles, today’s allocations will fund projects in El Monte, Simi Valley, Burbank, Rancho Cucamonga, Chatsworth and other areas throughout the region.

“SCORE investments provide infrastructure improvements that enable Metrolink to run more trains to improve service,” said Metrolink Board Chair Andrew Kotyuk. “SCORE is essential to the long-range vision of transforming Southern California’s regional rail system.”

In August, the CTC awarded an initial $6.5 million to begin design, rail operations modeling and environmental assessment on the first of the SCORE projects as part of the projected $875.7 million total.

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Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 25th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.