Richard Riehl 2 a.m., March 4
State releases rail plans, calls public meetings for feedback
California’s railroad planners are set to release their long-term plans for the future of rail in the state, including the controversial and costly voter-approved high-speed rail corridor that would run from San Francisco through Orange County but stop short of reaching San Diego.
The California State Rail Plan, a 10 year Caltrans initiative intended to integrate plans for the state’s proposed high-speed rail program with existing and proposed conventional railways in the state, has announced the release of a draft proposal and series of public meetings to present the Plan and gather public input.
A meeting is scheduled in San Diego for February 19 at the Caltrans office located at 4050 Taylor Street in Old Town.
Of particular local significance is a portion of the Plan that would address service along Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner route, which originates Downtown at Union Station and runs 350 miles north to San Luis Obispo on California’s central coast. The route is Amtrak’s third-busiest, and generates the nation’s highest ridership outside of the New England region.
In addition to developing a platform for blending proposed high-speed rail development with existing infrastructure, the Plan will form a basis for allocating federal and state funds for intercity rail transportation of both passengers and freight, including monies from the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which requires states to develop planning documents and update them every five years.