Southern California has an extensive rail network and it plays a very critical role in the economy. Rail links together with the ports and allows shippers to move large volumes of goods over long distances.
In fact, more than half of the international cargo arriving at the San Pedro Bay Ports moves by train. Using rail is more cost-effective than other transportation methods.
Global Gateway South at Pier 300, the largest container terminal complex of its kind in North America, features an on-dock railyard. In the 484-acre Pier 400, Maersk, the world’s largest shipping line, pairs with the largest on-dock railyard with 12 loading tracks.
In addition to shipping, Southern California commuters seek rail options. Passenger traffic in the Southern California region from Metrolink and Amtrak is projected to grow by 60 percent to 100 percent by 2035 on some segments of the BNSF mainline. Improvements and upgrades are still necessary as major segments of track need to be addressed. Additionally, as rail capacity increases, construction of on-dock and near-dock intermodal terminals is necessary.
With the passage of Measure M comes some funding to tackle an impressive expansion of transit facilities and service. Los Angeles County will greatly expand its rail network, adding entire new corridors and lengthening existing ones by 2035. Since 2009, Metropolitan Transportation Authority has opened four new rail extensions at a cost of more than $4 billion.
Orange County will introduce its first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services, greatly expand Metrolink service, and introduce new transit systems in Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Garden Grove. Riverside County will also introduce its first BRTs and introduce the Metrolink Perris Valley Line. San Bernardino County will introduce BRT service as well and the Redlands Rail. Some say that Los Angeles will finally get a transit system to rival New York.
Expansion and upkeep of these services is critical for attracting new commuters as well as properly serving transit customers already on board. Plus, there is the added bonus of reduced traffic and pollution.
Like other infrastructure projects, transit faces significant funding challenges. As residents learned after passing Measure R, funds run out. While Measure M helps to accomplish some improvement goals, there are costs for operational enhancements and other infrastructure issues that have not yet been fully addressed.
Californians who are concerned rail and transit have a voice. Connect directly with your legislators to let them know about projects important to you and to all Californians. Stay on top of important infrastructure news and information by signing up for our newsletter. Join in the movement and spread the word through social media as we work together to find solutions for our failing infrastructure. Together we can make an impact to improve rail infrastructure.