OCEANSIDE – The North County Transit District and San Diego Association of Governments announced Friday, Dec. 11, that the California Transportation Commission has awarded a grant request of $106 million to fund trade corridor enhancements in the San Diego region. This announcement follows the recent release of a study outlining how to phase expansion of passenger and freight rail services along the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo rail corridor, the second busiest rail corridor in the nation. In a typical year, the LOSSAN rail corridor moves approximately $1 billion of freight and over 8 million rail passengers.
The $106 million grant provides critical funding for a $202 million program of projects for the San Diego portion of the LOSSAN rail corridor. SANDAG will be responsible for implementing the program of projects which includes: Del Mar Bluffs Stabilization Project 5, the construction of the COASTER Convention Center Platform in the Gaslamp area, Phase 1 of the San Dieguito Bridge located near the Del Mar Fairgrounds and other rail line improvements on Camp Pendleton. The program of projects was developed as part of a San Diego Pathing Study funded by NCTD and BNSF.
“We are excited and grateful to the California Transportation Commission for selecting the region’s grant application for funding. The funding will support critical state of good repair and capacity enhancing projects that will increase transit ridership and rail freight movement,” Tony Kranz, NCTD board chair and Encinitas city councilmember, said. “The funding of these projects will also create local jobs and help boost our economy which has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The projects outlined in the trade corridor enhancement program grant will provide a host of benefits to the broader San Diego and Southern California region including, but not limited to: expanding COASTER service to the Downtown San Diego Convention Center, which serves as a major entertainment and employment hub for the region; extending service to a new Amtrak maintenance facility in National City that will aid LOSSAN Pacific Surfliner operations; increasing freight services along the LOSSAN corridor to five roundtrips per day as part of the prioritized midterm improvements; minimizing rail crossing delays by extending signaling and Positive Train Control to improve rail speed and coordination with rail crossing gates, and stabilizing the 1.7 miles of coastal bluffs within Del Mar.
“This funding is critical to SANDAG’s goal of improving the speed, capacity, and safety of rail service along the second busiest rail corridor in the nation,” Steve Vaus, SANDAG chair and mayor of Poway, said. “SANDAG remains fully committed to securing the bluffs in the short term and identifying a feasible long-term solution for the corridor.”
With the award of this generous grant from the CTC, NCTD and its rail partners will work together with SANDAG, LOSSAN Corridor Agency, California State Transportation Agency, and other key stakeholders to identify the funds needed to implement the remaining phases of unfunded projects included in the San Diego Pathing Study.
Submitted by The North County Transit District and San Diego Association of Governments.