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TAMC Rail Policy Committee Meeting Report

January 10, 2011 Meeting

Reported by Chris Flescher, Associate Director

The environmental review for the Monterey Branch Line is now under way.  The RPC has attended some meetings and will attend some more.  The RPC has made a few changes, such as altering the path of the rails through the Window on Bay Park, and removing one station.  The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) will be available to view in the Spring.  That is expected to clear phase 1 of the project and the majority of phase 2.

The City of Marina has some concerns about the Independent Ridership Review (IRR) of the Branch Line.  Marina wonders if TAMC is the most appropriate agency to conduct the analysis for the following reasons.

First, land use authority and economic development are the responsibility of the cities and their redevelopment agencies.  Second, TAMC has not contacted the Marina Community Development or Redevelopment Agency regarding the proposal.  It is not clear how involved the City would be, or where the funding would come from for engaging staff to the degree necessary to prepare a realistic analysis of land use over time.  Third, the proposed work is duplicative of work to be undertaken by AMBAG for development of the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).

There is a proposed new scope of work for the IRR.  The Ridership Review will consist of the following tasks.

  1. Apply the Aggregate Rail Ridership Forecasting (ARRF) model.
  2. Apply other strategic level techniques to check reasonableness of ridership model forecasts.
  3. Critique the existing regional model methodology and inputs.
  4. Modifications and sensitivity tests using the regional model.

If TAMC works with AMBAG, there is a potential to save some time and money, because TAMC can use some data from the AMBAG study.

The RPC would like to have Marc Warner Transportation sign a contract for the IRR.

Train Extension to Salinas

There was a meeting on Nov 17, 2010 with the Capitol Corridor, Caltrain, Caltrans, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation (SCVTA) staff.  The issues discussed were the project, its designs, expected ridership, funding sources, train line and equipment capacity, and proposed schedules for the train service extension to Salinas.

When TAMC has an operating scenario that all agencies support, they will ask UP to do a new capacity analysis study.  There was a study done for the proposed Caltrain extension, but the service will be slightly different for the proposed Capitol Corridor extension. As soon as UP completes the study, that will provide TAMC with necessary info for final station and track designs.

Right of Way (Salinas Extension)

There is now a contract to buy the Powers RV property (which is needed for the Salinas layover facility).  The County Health Department is looking into who has the responsibility for cleaning up the property.  When they give their approval, the purchase will happen.

There are some continuing discussions concerning who will own the property around the stations.

The RPC made a request to arrange a field trip, which will occur March 3.  It will run from San Jose to Salinas and Soledad, on the Coast Starlight, and the train will make a special stop in Soledad on that day.  There will also be a Coastal Rail Coordinating Council meeting later in the day, in Soledad.

Dave Potter attended a meeting at LA Union Station in December.  All the statewide rail corridor planning groups were at the meeting.