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TAMC Rail Policy Committee Meeting Report

June 7, 2010 Meeting

Reported by Chris Flescher, Associate Director

The commuter rail extension (Gilroy to Salinas) is now in the right of way acquisition phase.  The committee has issued a request for proposals in 3 categories: acquisition agent, legal services, and on-call appraisal. For the on-call group, the committee received 8 proposals. They recommend placing 7 on the list, for future use, but not signing any contracts. For legal services, there were 5 proposals. The committee recommends Meyers Nave. The acquisition agent proposals were many. The committee chose Overland Pacific, Associated Right of Way Services, and Paragon Partners as the top 3. The committee interviewed those agencies, and Overland Pacific was chosen.   The committee passed a resolution to support the above choices, and the final contracts will go to the TAMC Board of Directors later this month.

TAMC needs to buy 24 parcels of land. Hazardous materials work will be necessary for phase 2 of the acquisition. The pollutants will need to be identified and mitigated. Parsons will handle some of that work.

Updated Project Budget

The capital cost is about $110 million. TAMC is still seeking $75 million from a federal Small Starts Grant. TAMC may get $500,000 from Santa Cruz County, which has discussed helping to pay for the Pajaro station.  The estimated total operating costs are $4.49 million per year. The expected farebox revenues are $3.31 million per year, leaving the net operating costs as $1.18 million.

The federal funding for the Commuter Rail and the Monterey Branch Line projects will probably happen in different years, so the two projects will not necessarily be “competing” with each other. However, there could be political pressure not to award two grants to the same area, even in different years.

TAMC has sent the administrative draft environmental assessment (for Commuter Rail) to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). TAMC has received comments back from the FTA.

The chairman of the California Transportation Commission has shown concern about financing for existing Caltrain services. This is important, because the extension will be operated by either Caltrain or the Capitol Corridor.

Monterey Branch Line

The public outreach for the Monterey Branch Line is continuing. Representatives from TAMC have been attending meetings and showing the video simulation.

At the presentation to the Monterey City Council, the most common concerns were noise and the impact to Window on the Bay Park.