Op/Ed: SANBAG Supports Sustainable Transportation Funding

OPED graphic for wordpress

The efficiency of government has a significant bearing on a region’s competitiveness and economic growth. California is simply not investing adequately today in its transportation infrastructure, which if not corrected will damage future economic activity. Mobility is essential to sustainability and growth in all sectors of the economy. The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), the County’s Transportation Agency, strongly supports our State legislative representatives who continue to seek opportunities towards additional transparency, streamlining and funding for transportation.

Our proactive Board of Directors comprised of the five County Supervisors and elected representatives from each of our 24 cities and towns seeks innovative ways to serve the largest geographical county in the continental U.S., with a population of 2.1 million that is expected to grow 62 percent by 2060.

Several members of the California legislature have presented bills for consideration in the ongoing legislative special session on transportation funding. It is in the best interest of San Bernardino County and the State for legislators to work together on ways to solve our complex transportation issues to ensure our future economic viability. Let’s build on this momentum to achieve sustainable transportation funding.

We know there is much interest from everyone in the legislature to fix our crumbling infrastructure and we trust they will craft a solution. Structural changes are needed sooner rather than later. Several proposals include some form of change to the state’s environmental review process and revisions to how transportation contracts are awarded. To date, every dollar we’re not spending on improving our infrastructure costs us $9 in the future.

We support all collaborative efforts that aim to improve the existing $57 billion backlog in repairs to California’s crumbling state highway system. The problem is only getting worse. In May, the California Transportation Commission cut $754 million to planned road projects over the next five years, as revenues from the state’s gas tax have fallen along with gas prices. Those cuts translated to a loss of over $63 million for San Bernardino County. That money would have advanced critical projects across the county.

I am proud of Assembly Transportation Chair Jim Frazier for championing infrastructure improvements, freight funding and local control. The partnership SANBAG has developed with the Chairman over the past few years has benefited our region tremendously. We agree with the Chairman, we need to keep these transportation projects funded – they make a huge impact on our quality of life and our ability to create and sustain jobs.

We applaud all of our members for their support of innovative transportation funding and strongly encourage them to continue the work of identifying solutions to solve one of our state’s most pressing issues – investment in transportation equates to jobs and prosperity.


Metrolink to operate special holiday service on Labor Day

Metrolink Media

LOS ANGELES – In observance of Labor Day on September 5, Metrolink will only operate two round-trip trains on the Antelope Valley Line. All other Metrolink service will not operate.

Southbound Antelope Valley Line train 262 will depart Lancaster at 8:55 a.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 11 a.m., while Antelope Valley Line train 268 will depart Lancaster at 2:25 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 4:30 p.m.

Northbound Antelope Valley train 263, will depart Los Angeles Union Station at 11:40 a.m. and train 269 will depart LAUS at 5:25 p.m.

Please click here to see the full schedule. Regular service will resume system-wide on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 21st 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, 536 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.

SANBAG Receives $9.2M in State Grant Funds for Passenger Rail Project

CalSTA release

Transportation Agency Awards $390 Million in Cap and Trade Grants to Expand Transit, Reduce Emissions and Create Jobs

Sacramento –  Tuesday, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced 14 recipients for the 2016 Transit and Intercity Capital Program (TIRCP) grants.  The group of projects moves forward the Brown Administration’s focus on reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions while advancing the state’s public transportation system. This year’s awards total $390 million in competitive grants made possible through the state’s Cap and Trade auction proceeds.

“This investment of Cap and Trade dollars is really about transforming this state’s transportation system to create jobs, reduce harmful emissions, and expand mobility options so Californians can get around as efficiently and conveniently as possible,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly.

“Today we invest in California’s future—improved bus services in Fresno, BART to San Jose in the Bay Area, expanded ACE service to better connect the Northern San Joaquin Valley with Silicon Valley, new streetcar systems in Sacramento and Santa Ana, electrified transit services in the Bay Area and Southern California, vital improvements to LA Metro’s Green, Purple and Red lines, expanded rail services between Southern California cities and the Central Coast, and a new rail service connecting a major university with downtown San Bernardino.

California’s transportation future is about providing good, clean travel options while expanding access to mobility and economic opportunity for all.  This Cap and Trade program delivers today and promises to deliver much more in the future.  I’m proud to put these vital transportation dollars to work for all Californians.”

41 applications for funding from around the state were submitted for consideration this year. The 14 projects selected, valued at more than $3.8 billion, will reduce more than 4.1 million tons of CO2 statewide and 13 of the 14 recipient projects directly benefit disadvantaged communities.

Looking ahead, through Senate Bill 9 (Beall, 2015) CalSTA will be adopting a 5-year program of projects by July 1, 2018.  The 5-year program calls for larger, more transformative projects to be funded.  With that, the state anticipates being a long-term funding partner to see transformative projects come to fruition, for example:

  • The BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension to San Jose Diridon and Santa Clara stations
  • Commuter and intercity rail projects in northern California, such as expanded ACE, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor service, that will link the high-speed rail project to millions of Californians through shared stations in the Bay Area and the Central Valley
  • Expanded capacity for Los Angeles Union Station
  • Commuter and intercity rail projects in southern California, such as expanded Metrolink, Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and Coaster service that will link the high-speed rail project to millions of Californians through shared stations in the south
  • Street car, light rail, and high-frequency bus projects all around the state that expand transit ridership with zero-emission vehicles well suited to the achievement of climate goals
  • Investments in stronger integration between local transit and the statewide high speed, intercity and regional rail network, such as those underway in Fresno, that grow ridership and increase the utilization of existing services
  • Expansion of the intercity rail network into new markets, such as the Coachella Valley and the Central Coast, and development of zero emission services on the intercity feeder bus network

CalSTA will hold workshops in late 2016, continuing into 2017, to receive public input on guideline development for the 2018 program.

Project funding for the 2016 awards will be supported by Cap and Trade auction proceeds from eight anticipated auctions in fiscal year 2016-17 and 2017-18, so cumulative auction proceeds are more important than the amount of revenue received from a single auction.

If the Legislature directs additional funds to the TIRCP in this legislative session, CalSTA may increase funding for announced awards and/or fund additional projects submitted as part of the 2016 program.


Click here for full list of award recipients.