Report by Paul Dyson


Key items:

Surfliner Revenue up 16.3% in March over previous year, but down 13.1% in April, all attributed to an early Easter this year. Overall growth still about 3%, which is very poor given the demographics of the region.

OTP Is averaging between 71 and 75% at the end points, and you know that covers up a lot of worse performance at intermediate stops.

Legislation and funding:

There is no good news at the State level. The overall deficit projections have climbed to the $20 billion range with likelihood of another declaration of fiscal emergency by the Governor and the sequestration of Prop. 42 funds. Money for infrastructure projects is drying up and only ameliorated by a little Prop 1B money. There is still no release of 1B funds by the finance department for passenger rolling stock.

At the federal level Amtrak reauthorization seems to be moving ahead but the passage of HR 6003 was by such a large margin as to take most people by surprise. There is not enough in the bill for California and it’s very important we follow up with CA reps on the conference committee to write in some CA specific projects, given that we represent the largest rail passenger market of a single state.

The LOSSAN corridor definition has finally been corrected. The definition is now San Diego to San Luis Obispo, not San Diego to Delmar. This took 8 years to accomplish.

The Santa Barbara – Ventura rail analysis by SCAG’s consultant, our old friend Sharon Greene, was discussed. RailPAC supports the rescheduling of 799/798 to accommodate early morning passengers. When the is equipment and funds for the Coast Daylight this should probably be the first train from San Diego and run through in both directions.

The OCTA “Quick Improvement Study” calls for additional stops to Surfliner trains in Orange County, even though the OTP is abysmal and can only get worse if this is done. There are signs that Metrolink wants to jump on the bandwagon, and will ask for stops at Norwalk, perhaps Commerce. (See letter to Bill Bronte of Division of Rail and to Art Brown of LOSSAN and OCTA.)

OCTA has appointed Wilbur Smith to carry out a comprehensive assessment of coordinated rail service in the LOSSAN corridor, and we’ll be doing our best to be heard as that study progresses.

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