Caltrans, which manages two of the nation’s busiest passenger rail lines, is asking its rapidly growing passenger base what they think about rail systems in the Golden State.
The department is hosting five public open houses and a statewide webinar this month to solicit input on the draft California State Rail Plan (CSRP), which will lay out a vision for freight, passenger and high-speed rail in the state. The draft plan is available at californiastaterailplan.com and comments can be submitted through March 11.
The hearing in Los Angeles is next Wednesday, Feb. 20.
"Each year, nearly six million passengers ride the trains in California," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "It’s important that we find out what our citizens have to say about rail, because their input will help us build a truly connected California."
Ridership on California trains is up 56 percent since 2002, and California has about 18 percent of all Amtrak riders.
"The authority looks forward in working with Caltrans and our local partners to implement a statewide rail modernization plan that invests in urban, commuter, intercity and high-speed rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs,” said Jeff Morales, CEO of California High-Speed Rail Authority.
To review the draft plan and comment, attend any of the events listed below. If you can’t attend a meeting in person, you can participate in the online webinar.
- San Diego: Feb. 19, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Caltrans District 11 San Diego Office Building, 1st Floor Conference Room.
- Los Angeles: Feb. 20, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
- Fresno: Feb. 21, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Hugh M. Burns State Building, Assembly Room 1036
- Webinar: Feb. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Online Webinar, event password: RailPlan1
The final plan (scheduled to be issued this summer) will fully integrate California’s future high-speed rail system with existing and proposed conventional rail systems. The plan will serve as a basis for federal and state investments for high-speed and intercity passenger rail in California and will also describe the existing conditions of the state’s rail systems and the economic and environmental benefits of improvements.