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RailPAC sends letter of support for the Camp Pendleton-CP SONGS Bridge Replacement & Double Tracking Project grant application

The Honorable Amit Bose

Administrator

Federal Railroad Administration

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, D.C. 20590

February 28, 2022

Re: Support for the Camp Pendleton-CP SONGS Bridge Replacement & Double Tracking Project

Dear Administrator Bose:

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 fully supports the North County Transit District’s (NCTD) grant application to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair (SGR) Program. NCTD is requesting project funding to advance and construct the Camp Pendleton-CP SONGS Bridge Replacement and Double Track Project located along the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California.

This funding request directly supports state of good repair bridge replacement on this nationally significant rail corridor. The project also includes the installation of 1.5 miles of capacity-enhancing double track that is critical to advancing regional and state plans for improved and increased passenger and freight service over the next several years. Improving the LOSSAN corridor between LA and San Diego is one of our advocacy organization’s highest priorities. The bridge replacement and double track project to be funded by this grant are on RailPAC’s list of priority rail projects for California, for which we recommend near-term funding.

Completion of the Camp Pendleton-CP SONGS Bridge Replacement and Double Track Project 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. These rail improvements will enable more frequent and integrated intercity and commuter rail service, improve on-time performance and safety, and improve operations within the 351-mile LOSSAN corridor. Travelling 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, Camp Pendleton and MCAS Miramar 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.

We appreciate the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration in investing in our rail systems to increase mobility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. RailPAC supports this funding opportunity for this critical regional project and looks forward to its implementation. Thank you for your consideration

Sincerely,

Brian Yanity

Vice President- South and Board Member,

Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC)