Oceanside CA– The North County Transit District has applied for a $5 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Discretionary Grant. The TIGER program may award up to $35 million in fiscal year 2014 for planning grants.
If the agency’s application is successful, the money will be used to fund the planning of the proposed transit facility on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Camp Pendleton is the largest employer in North San Diego County with an average daily base population of approximately 70,000. Currently, the vast majority of individuals access the base in private cars creating significant congestion both entering and exiting the base. Three NCTD BREEZE bus routes are the only public transit serving Camp Pendleton.
In 2011 officials from NCTD and Camp Pendleton signed a cooperation agreement to explore the possibility of building a transit center on the base. Last year the U.S. Marine Cops Installations Command provided conceptual approval for the transit center which would serve NCTD’s COASTER commuter rail, and potentially also serve Amtrak and Los Angeles-based Metrolink trains.
The Camp Pendleton Transit Center aligns well with the goals of the TIGER Grant program to improve access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for disconnected communities. The regional benefits of the transit center are many. It would make the area more economically competitive by connecting the tens of thousands of military, retired military, and civilians, who live and work on base, or regularly access the base, with key employment centers in the region. Building the multi-modal transit center on base would decrease transportation costs for base residents and workers. By providing easy access to public transportation, the transit center would improve quality of life and enhance environmental sustainability by; reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving air quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The transit center would also reduce vehicle miles traveled in private automobiles annually by more than 75 million and save more than 2.5 million gallons of fuel each year.
“The Camp Pendleton Transit Center is a true partnership between NCTD, the Marine Corps, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and our transportation partners; Amtrak, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Metrolink. This partnership believes the transit center would provide the full range of economic and environment benefits to the base as well as the entire region,” said Matthew O. Tucker, NCTD Executive Director. “We are confident the Department of Transportation will recognize the benefits and the alignment of this project with the government’s goals for the program and awards us this vital funding.”