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RailPAC sends letter of support for San Dieguito Double Track Project Phase 2 grant application

San Dieguito Lagoon railroad bridge, with Del Mar Fairgrounds behind

The Honorable Pete Buttigieg
Office of the Secretary of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C., 20590

May 14, 2022

Subject: Letter of support for NCTD’s Application for Funding from the INFRA and MEGA Programs

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 North County Transit District (NCTD) grant application for funding from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) and the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highway Projects grant programs (INFRA) as part of the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Opportunity (MPDG). NCTD is requesting funding to advance Phase 2 of the San Dieguito Double Track Project, which will add capacity-enhancing double track along the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor and make “state of good repair” improvements.

RailPAC strongly supports improvements to the 351-mile 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. Of important note, the U.S. Department of Defense has designated the LA-San Diego line as part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET). As the only direct railroad link connecting both the San Diego metropolitan area and 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.

This San Dieguito project makes needed improvements to the LOSSAN corridor by replacing the aging wooden trestle San Dieguito Lagoon rail bridge, constructing 0.3 miles of new main track and making track improvements to 0.9 miles of siding track, to create a total of 1.2 miles of new mainline double track. Combined with existing double-track in along this stretch of the corridor, the result will be a continuous 2.8-mile section of double track. This added capacity will support increased passenger and freight train frequencies and foster more rapid service recovery from incidents that lead to train delays. It will improve COASTER, Metrolink and Amtrak 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)