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RailPAC sends letter of support for San Diego Rail Optimization and Asset Resiliency grant applications

[SANDAG is pursuing both federal and state funding for a program of shovel-ready capital improvement projects along the Los Angeles – San Luis Obispo – San Diego (LOSSAN) rail corridor, proposing the same program of projects under the state’s Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair (SOGR).

The following individual projects are included in SANDAG’s proposed program of projects:

  1. Sorrento to Miramar Phase 2 – Improvements include adding 2 miles of double track, straightening existing curves, and stabilizing the tracks in an environmentally sensitive section of the corridor.
  2. Batiquitos Lagoon Double Track – Improvements include replacing an aging trestle bridge and adding double track.
  3. North Oceanside Double Track (Eastbrook to Shell) – Improvements include replacing an aging bridge, adding double track, and improving the bike and pedestrian undercrossing.]

The Honorable Pete Buttigieg

Office of the Secretary of Transportation

United States Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, D.C., 20590

February 20, 2022

Subject: Letter of support for San Diego Rail Optimization and Asset Resiliency (SD ROAR) application

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

I am writing on behalf of the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC), an all-volunteer, non-profit passenger rail advocacy organization founded in 1978. RailPAC supports the San Diego Rail Optimization and Asset Resiliency (SD ROAR) application, submitted bythe San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District, under the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program.

SD ROAR is a transformative program of high priority rail improvements that will enable more frequent and integrated intercity and commuter rail service, improve on-time performance and safety, and enhance operations within the 351-mile Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor, which travels through a six-county coastal region in Southern California. It is the second busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the United States with an annual ridership in 2019 of more than 2.8 million on Amtrak Pacific Surfliner intercity trains and 5 million on Metrolink and COASTER commuter trains. Dozens of passenger trains run each weekday along the San Diego County portion of LOSSAN alone, serving eight stations within San Diego County. This corridor also supports significant freight operations, and the U.S. Department of Defense has designated the line as part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET). As the only direct railroad link connecting the principal home port of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet to the rest of the nation, the line must be maintained in a state of good repair and have sufficient capacity for reasons of national security.

SD ROAR will address key bottlenecks within the LOSSAN corridor by constructing three miles of additional double track, replacing two aging bridges, realigning curves, and stabilizing track sections. This program of shovel-ready projects will support service increases to boost ridership, reduce both automobile traffic and greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure the viability of passenger and freight rail service along parts of the coast vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Completion of SD ROAR aligns with the Partnership Program’s goals to reduce the state of good repair backlog, improve COASTER, Metrolink and Surfliner train on-time performance and frequency, and reduce the risk of accidents.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this letter of support. We appreciate the leadership of the U.S. Department of Transportation in investing in our rail systems to increase mobility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sincerely,

Brian Yanity

Vice President- South and Board Member,

Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC)