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TAMC Rail Policy Committee Meeting Report

September 13, 2010 Meeting

Reported by Chris Flescher, Associate Director

According to the California Transportation Commission (CTC), TAMC needs to conduct an independent ridership review and economic analysis, for the Monterey Branch Line (MBL).  The study will be very important when TAMC asks for money for engineering.  TAMC will ask for $50,000 of Prop 116 funds.  If the money is granted, the engineering may start in December and end in April.  The ridership study will be very similar to the one performed by Parsons, but will be done by a different agency.  TAMC does not know yet who it will be.

TAMC will release a Request For Proposals in October. TAMC presented a proposal to the Capitol Corridor operating agency (CCJPA) in June, and the CCJPA was supportive.  They will meet again later in September, to discuss the 60% level of design, and scheduling options.  Caltrain was considering ending all Gilroy service.  However, their staff recommends continuing the service for at least one more year.  TAMC is currently showing the plans for 60% design to cities, counties and other interested groups.  TAMC will have plans for 90% design complete in December.

The Ad Hoc Station Committee went to the station sites recently. There was a meeting with TAMC with property owners near the Salinas Station and there will be a similar one for Castroville.  There are special rules for right of way negotiations, which could cause TAMC to lose out on possible funding.  TAMC will hire consultants to observe the process, in order to avoid such a loss of money.  The FTA requires an independent review of station designs, to determine if there are other possible savings.  TAMC has hired a group to perform that study.  TAMC may have the so-called Final FTA environmental review ready for public comment at the end of the month.

One proposal made was to have another field trip on the Coast Starlight between San Jose and Salinas.

There may be questions about maintenance issues near Elkhorn Slough.

There will be a meeting next week at the El Estero Senior Center to discuss issues relating to Window on the Bay Park.

TAMC people attended another meeting for the Monterey Waterfront Plan.  The public comments showed that people support the general idea of passenger rail to the City of Monterey.  However, they are very concerned about Window on the Bay Park.  There is some concern about moving the existing bike path, to make room for the rail line.