The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) has awarded an additional $12.3 million dollars in SB 1 funding through the State Rail Assistance (SRA), of which the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) and San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) received approval for both ACE passenger rail and the Amtrak San Joaquins projects. SRA funds are focused investments to improve commuter and intercity rail service across the state, reduce air pollution, and ease traffic congestion.
For ACE service, the current funding award includes $3.4 million for extending the Fremont station platform to accommodate longer trains, and $500,000 for the Lyoth rail connection in Tracy. This junction currently requires ACE trains to slow down through the area due to the manual safety system for the short-haul freight line connecting to the mainline. The upgrade to an electronic safety system will allow for increased ACE train speeds through the junction.
For Amtrak San Joaquins, funding includes $7.1 million for a new track connection to ease congestion between Union Pacific, BNSF, ACE, and Amtrak San Joaquins trains in San Joaquin County, and $900,000 for additional parking at the Merced Amtrak station.
The funding will provide important improvements for passengers and performance for both ACE and San Joaquins services.
SRA awards provide California’s commuter and intercity rail agencies with dependable supplemental revenue that they can use to improve rail service in various ways, including: operations funding for expanded service; increased customer amenities such as discounted tickets; capital investments such as new and cleaner-emissions rolling stock to increase capacity and reduce emissions, and track and station investments that can reduce travel times, delays, improve accessibility and enhance the customer experience.
Funding for the SRA program is created through Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) which directs a portion of new revenue to intercity and commuter rail.
Recent SB 1 funds and other state programs have also assisted with the purchase of additional passenger cars and locomotives, extending train platforms for easier boarding and expansion of service into several new corridors.
The SJRRC manages ACE passenger rail, with four-weekday round-trips between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley, and the SJJPA manages Amtrak San Joaquins, with seven daily round-trips, including five between Bakersfield/Fresno and Oakland, and two between Bakersfield/Fresno and Sacramento.