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Valley Authority? - Transfer Of Amtrak Management Weighed
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Management of the Amtrak rail system may be changing in the near future.

The "Intercity Passenger Rail Act of 2012" authored by Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani was recently signed by the Governor. Assembly Bill 1779 reauthorizes regional government agencies' ability to form a Joint Powers Authority for the San Joaquin Corridor.

"I am so pleased the Governor signed this important bill," said Galgiani. "Local and Regional Government and Transportation Agency officials from Bakersfield to Sacramento have been working together to make improvements to the service in the Valley by creating a structure to administer state supported intercity passenger service. This legislation will provide Valley communities with a stronger voice in advocating for service improvements and expansions, local decision-making that is more responsive and adaptive to passenger issues, better marketing and partnerships with local agencies and more local support."

Following the model of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, AB 1779 is permissive legislation that would enable regional governance/management of the existing San Joaquin intercity passenger rail service between Bakersfield-Fresno-Stockton-Sacramento-Oakland. The bill also protects existing sources of local or regional funding from being used to expand or maintain the San Joaquin intercity passenger rail service and requires that the transfer must result in administrative or operating cost reductions.

"As a Valley-managed corridor, the San Joaquin intercity passenger rail service could result in expanded service, and increases in ridership and revenue - similar to the administration of the Capitol Corridor System under governance of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority," said Tony Boren, Executive Director for Fresno Council of Governments speaking on behalf of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council, one of the sponsors of the legislation.

"In crafting this legislation a strong partnership was developed between the San Joaquin Valley, the East Bay, and the Sacramento region and an extensive coalition in the Central Valley in support of my bill," said Galgiani. "Increases in San Joaquin intercity passenger rail service and ridership will result in more jobs, improved air quality, and will help promote sustainable development in the Valley.

"The whole coalition of sponsors and supporters for improvements for intercity rail service, in addition to the support of this Administration, will truly be a great asset to the state."