LOS ANGELES – The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Governing Board earlier this month unanimously approved an item to execute a contract with Metrolink for $22.85 million from the Carl Moyer Program. At the same Sept. 4 meeting, the SCAQMD Board agreed to consider an additional $36 million over four phases for Metrolink to help fund low-emission Tier 4 locomotives in future requests.
“This decision showcases the ongoing support SCAQMD has to improve air quality through more reliable and environmentally friendly public transportation,” said Chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors Shawn Nelson, who is also an Orange County supervisor and an SCAQMD board member. “It is only through these partnerships Metrolink can secure this much needed funding.”
In 2013 and 2014, SCAQMD approved awards to Metrolink in the total amount of $52 million for the replacement of 20 passenger locomotives with new Tier 4 locomotives.
This latest award will help fund an order of up to 20 additional new Tier 4 passenger locomotives.
“To reduce pollution, mechanical breakdowns and service delays caused by its aging diesel locomotive fleet, the Metrolink Board and staff partnered with the SCAQMD to fund and acquire these new Tier 4 locomotives which will improve air quality and reliable Metrolink service for Southern California,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who serves on both the Metrolink and SCAQMD boards.
Tier 4 locomotives are expected to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 85 percent compared to current Tier 0 locomotive engines. Metrolink was the first commuter rail system in the country to procure Tier 4 locomotives. Fuel efficiency improvements, which reduce carbon dioxide equivalents, also referred to as greenhouse gas emissions, are also expected to be realized.
The new engines will have 31 to 57 percent more horsepower, allowing for greater operational flexibility, capacity and reliability.
Earlier this year, Metrolink was awarded $41.2 million in state funds to help purchase up to nine low-emission Tier 4 locomotives. That funding came from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), which provides grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
The long-term Metrolink fleet plan calls for up to 40 new Tier 4 locomotives with a total project cost of approximately $280 million, with the remainder of the funds being provided through a combination of Metrolink member agency contributions and other subsidies. The first of the low-emission locomotives are expected to begin operating throughout the Metrolink system in late 2016.
Metrolink received support from federal, state, and local elected officials, along with partnering efforts with community leaders in securing the SCAQMD funding.
For additional details on Metrolink, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com.
ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)
Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 23rd year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.
Scott Johnson, Metrolink Public Affairs