When Los Angeles’ iconic Union Station turned 80 last month, Caltrans took the opportunity to note that the State is investing more than $4.4 billion in Southern California regional rail, transit and freight mobility projects.
Some of this historic investment is thanks to the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1). This landmark transportation infrastructure bill invests $5 billion per year toward transportation infrastructure, including more than $1 billion for rail, transit and freight movement.
“The story of Union Station as a major transportation hub for 75,000 people a day is even more exciting as we look toward the future and build for tomorrow,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “As a state, we’re proud to recognize the historic past of this station and proudly work with our partners as we build for the future.”
- The Link Union Station (Link US) infrastructure project was awarded nearly $400 million through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) to improve both intercity and regional services. With Los Angeles set to host its third Olympic Games in 2028, this project will be a key component in increasing rail capacity, directly benefitting many transit services, including LA Metro services, Metrolink commuter trains, and Amtrak regional and intercity trains.
- The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) awarded $330.2 million in 2018 to LA Metro for their Transit Integration and Modernization Program.
- CalSTA allocated a total of $188.3 million to the Los Angeles–San Diego–San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency for projects to create higher frequency services, and to improve travel times, reliability and safety on the corridor.
- LA Metro also won approval of $27.8 million to help improve operations centers for both bus and transit operations.
Estimates show that the collective $4.4 billion in investments by the state will leverage about $16.8 billion in regional mobility improvements. Partners in this multilateral work include LA Metro, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA / Metrolink), LOSSAN, Santa Bernardino County Transportation Authority, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and many others.
Noting that California is the world’s fifth-largest economy and home to nearly 40 million people, the California State Rail Plan aims to provide an “integrated, state-of-the-art rail system that successfully moves people and products while enhancing growth and quality of life” by 2040. The plan also anticipates that freight rail capacity will more than double in this period, almost entirely within existing rail corridor rights-of-way. To that end, integrating a fast, convenient and regular rail network with transit and urban rail systems at Union Station will provide real solutions. It will provide commuters with alternatives to Los Angeles traffic congestion—and will directly benefit freight movement by reducing roadway congestion and providing quicker and more reliable service for rail freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.