Thursday, May 03, 2018

CHSRA, LACMTA reach funding agreement for grade separation project

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LACMTA CEO Phil Washington, at left, and the CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly signing the joint funding agreement. LACMTA CEO Phil Washington, at left, and the CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly signing the joint funding agreement. Luis Inzunza/LACMTA

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) have reached a joint funding agreement for a grade separation project in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

The agreement calls for the allocation of $76.7 million in Proposition 1A bond funds, which will be matched by other local funding sources to complete the $155.3 million Rosecrans Avenue/Marquardt Avenue Grade Separation Project.

The crossing is part of the Los Angeles–San Diego–San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor, which is the second busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the country and is used by approximately 110 BNSF, Amtrak and LACMTA trains and more than 52,000 vehicles daily. The California Public Utilities Commission has also rated the crossing as one of California's most hazardous grade crossings.

"Funding for this priority investment within the Burbank to Anaheim corridor will improve freight, local and regional passenger rail service, enhance transit connections, improve safety, and accommodate the introduction of high-speed rail service in Southern California," said CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly.

CHSRA explains that Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Act approved by voters in 2008, included $1.1 billion in funding for the construction of locally sponsored "bookend" projects. Of this amount, $500 million was designated towards a broad list of projects in Southern California through a Southern California Memorandum of Understanding.

In early 2017, the Rosecrans Avenue/Marquardt Avenue Grade Separation Project was identified as the first project to be funded. In mid-2017, the CHSRA's Board of Directors approved the project's funding plan, authorizing execution of agreement. Remaining project costs will be matched by a variety of federal, state, local and private sources.

"This grade separation project will go a long way toward improving safety and enhancing passenger rail and freight services within our county," said LACMTA CEO Phillip A. Washington. "With hundreds of trains and traffic traveling through this critical intersection, these improvements will be a win-win for all Angelenos."

CHSRA says this project will provide significant near-term mobility, safety, environmental and economic benefits to the region by making necessary improvements for high-speed rail service. Project benefits also include increasing passenger rail capacity to the Inland Empire by 60 percent.