Los Angeles CA— On Thursday August 16, 2018, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) awarded $6.5 million dollars to Metrolink to begin design, rail operations modeling and environmental assessment on the first projects in the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. SCORE is a $10 billion plan to improve regional rail by making service more reliable, consistent and quieter in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
The award is the first down payment on an $856 million grant from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) to provide grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and Senate Bill 1 to fund transformative capital improvements that will modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure. The TIRCP grant is the largest award ever allocated to Metrolink.
“The Southern California region is home to 21.5 million people and the population is projected to grow by one million more within 15 years,” said California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Secretary Brian C. Annis. “Improving Metrolink will ease worsening traffic here on the nation’s busiest freeways, reduce emissions and ensure that freight can move freely on local freeways and rail corridors to support our powerhouse economy.”
By funding more frequent, reliable and faster Metrolink and Amtrak service throughout the region, SCORE will provide an alternative to crowded freeways and help ease congestion and reduce air pollution.
“Moving people and goods is critical to the region,” said CTC Chair Fran Inman. “SCORE helps commuters who drive longer distances and provides dedicated tracks to protect freight shipments from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest port complex in North America.”
“Funding rail improvements now will help prevent a mobility crisis in Southern California at a time when the region’s freeways are operating at capacity and building new freeways is exceedingly difficult,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).
Among SCORE benefits are safety enhancements that allow more Quiet Zones, where horns are not routinely blown at rail crossings. SCORE also funds a rail electrification study to reduce diesel emissions.
“Sixty years ago, California was the envy of the world with its historic investments in first-class transportation infrastructure,” said State senator Henry Stern. “But we’ve let ourselves go. And now our daily commutes are threatened with dangerous roads and bridges, and paralyzing traffic. I’m thrilled that Metrolink and the State of California are partnering to break this paralysis with a modern, efficient and convenient regional rail system. Even if you don’t ride the train, this is a win for all of us. But, there’s something invigorating about flying by the freeways on your morning commute stress-free.”
Of the $10 billion cost of SCORE, Metrolink has secured $1.5 billion and the agency will continue to work with partners to seek additional federal, state and local grants.
“Inland Southern California is thriving and is expected to continue to grow. It is our responsibility to ensure that the men and women coming to our region for work spend less time on the highways and more time with their families after work,” said State Senator Richard D. Roth. “This multi-million-dollar investment will do just that while also helping to clear the air – reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51.6 million metric tons throughout Southern California. A true win-win.”
“SCORE is a regional approach to improve our system to provide 15-and-30-minute service with some lines operating more often during peak hours,” said Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy. “SCORE captures public dollars generated by local taxpayers and returns service that is more frequent and more reliable.”
For more information about Metrolink, visit metrolinktrains.com