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TAMC Rail Policy Committee Meeting Report

November 1, 2010 Meeting

Reported by Chris Flescher, Associate Director

Independent Ridership Review / Economic Analysis of Monterey Branch Line

The Rail Policy Committee (RPC) sent out a request for proposals and received two responses.  The RPC decided to go with Warner Transportation Consulting for ridership and Economic Development Research Group for economic analysis.  The studies will start in December and they should be finished by May.

Legislative Program

The TAMC board approved a draft last week for circulation to the TAMC committees.  All regional transportation agencies in the state (including TAMC) will meet in December.  There should be a final legislative program report in January.

Commuter Rail Extension project

The RPC has met several times with the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) and Union Pacific (UP) staff.  On November 17, there was a follow up meeting with CCJPA and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) to discuss the Gilroy-to-San Jose trackage rights, along with Caltrain and Amtrak.   The SCVTA wants to keep some Caltrain service to Gilroy, although they expect to make significant cuts in the future, due to budget problems.    TAMC cannot sign an agreement with a service operator (Caltrain or CCJPA) until they receive a certain federal approval.

Stations (Commuter Rail Extension)

On September 22, TAMC entered into a contract with Harris and Associates to perform value engineering analysis on station designs (which are at the 60% design level).  A workshop was held on October 12-15 to review the project’s parameters and develop a recommendation for cost saving opportunities.  A final report on that analysis will be complete by Nov 19.

TAMC has met with the Salinas property (next to the station) owners and will pursue hardship funding for two owners.  They will meet soon with the Castroville property owners.  The RPC would like to amend the contract with Harris and Associates to provide project management services – project controls, scheduling, and a Project Management Plan, if required.  In the next few months, the 90% design level for the stations should be finished, with the final design level reached in the middle of 2011.

Coast Daylight

Dave Potter and Debbie Hale went to San Luis Obispo last month and met with officials from the LOSSAN (San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles to San Diego) Corridor group.  There was a perceived conflict with a new Santa Barbara service (to and from Ventura County) but it was resolved.

The legislative advocate, John Arriga, is working with the Coast Rail Coordinating Committee (CRCC) and Caltrans to accelerate the engineering and capacity study for the Coast Line. Caltrans made a commitment to move forward in discussions with UP and the capacity study.  UP made a commitment to complete the capacity study within 30 days.  The Policy Board confirmed that while final funding for the operations is not secured, completion of the engineering work is critical to being ready to ask for funding when it becomes available.

TAMC wants to run a test passenger train between San Francisco and Soledad next year.  It would be similar to the one that ran from SF to Salinas.  SLO has received a grant of $500,000 to do an environmental study of the San Luis Obispo-San Francisco corridor.