Sacramento Streetcar Project Links

Here are some links to the Sacramento Streetcar Project, which appears to have gained momentum this month.

Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar Project Website

Feds Give Sacramento Streetcar A Green Light (May 6, 2014)

Sacramento Streetcar Projects Gets Boost From Arena Developers

Cities Pursuing Streetcars As Economic Driver

Visualization of Downtown Sacramento Streetcar Near Riverfront

Photo: Portland Streetcar at Broadway Bridge (similar to the Tower Bridge: close but no cigar…)

Draft Business Plan For San Joaquins Passenger Service

In order to take over the administrative responsibilities of the San Joaquin rail service, the SJJPA must develop and approve a Business Plan to be included and referenced as part of the Interagency Transfer Agreement (ITA).  AB 1779 specifies that the earliest the ITA can be signed between the state and the SJJPA is June 30, 2014.
At the September 27, 2013 SJJPA Board Meeting the SJJPA approved a Draft Business Plan Outline and Proposed Interagency Transfer Agreement (ITA) Schedule.   Based upon the approved ITA schedule, the Draft SJJPA Business Plan was completed at the March 2014 SJJPA Board Meeting, however initial Draft Business Plan chapters were presented at the November 2013 and January 2014 SJJPA Board Meetings providing more opportunity for Board, agency and public input. The Final Business Plan will be presented at the June 27, 2014 SJJPA Board Meeting after public review and revisions.
As specified in AB 1779, the business plan shall include a report on the recent as well as historical performance of the corridor service, an overall operating plan including proposed service enhancements to increase ridership and provide for increased traveler demands in the corridor for the upcoming year, short-term and long-term capital improvement programs, funding requirements for the upcoming fiscal year, and an action plan with specific performance goals and objections.  The business plan shall document service improvements (rail and thruway/connecting bus) to provide the planned level of service, inclusion of operating plans to serve peak period work trips, and consideration of other service expansions and enhancements.
This initial business plan shall be consistent with the immediately previously State Rail Plan developed by Caltrans Division of Rail (DOR) pursuant to Section 14036 and the January 2014 Business Plan to be developed by the High-Speed Rail Authority pursuant to Section 185033 of the Public Utilities Code.
You may review the Draft Business Plan Chapters (including the Executive Summary) which are linked at this page:

TRAC Needs Volunteers!

Join us for “Lobby Thursdays” at the above location in Sacramento on most Thursdays. We need TRAC members to join us and remind State legislators and their staffs about the importance of passenger rail in California.

Particulars

Next TRAC Lobby Thursday is tentatively Thursday, July 10th.

We normally meet at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday mornings at the TRAC office to coordinate our lobbying efforts that day. The TRAC office is located at 1025 Ninth Street, Suite 223, in downtown Sacramento about three blocks from the State Capitol Building.

If you plan to join our efforts, please RSVP by calling us at (707) 557-1667 (preferred), or email us at trainriders2100 -AT- gmail.com (substitute @ and delete spaces).

Plan B: Keeping Federal HSR Funds in California

California is in danger of losing $2.4 billion of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, due to the current California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) project’s legal problems and the September 2017 expenditure deadline. (Another $929 million in federal FY 2010 grant funds does not have an expenditure deadline.)

These funds could be secured for California if they were redirected to improving Amtrak service in the Central Valley. The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority could deploy the funds within the time limits, because laying track in a freight railroad right-of-way is much simpler.

This would require renegotiation of the ARRA grant with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), shifting California’s grants from the Core Express (125-250+ mph) tier of the HSR Corridor Investment Strategy to the Regional Service (90-125 mph) tier, which serves mid- sized and large cities. Central Valley residents from Bakersfield to Sacramento would greatly benefit from a program to “Upgrade existing intercity passenger rail corridors to improve reliability, speed, and frequency of existing services.” The San Joaquin Amtrak Corridor can be improved at a modest cost with minimal disruption.
The project would cost-effectively build ridership, demonstrate demand for higher-speed HSR and restore public confidence in the State’s leadership in rail transport. A higher-speed San Joaquin Corridor would feed into a future statewide HSR system, enabling one-seat rides to Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Advantages

• The President wins (fulfills his stated HSR vision)
• The Governor wins (he can take credit for the idea–and gets out of the controversy)
• BNSF & UPRR win (the public pays for track improvements)
• Farmers & land owners win (limited ROW acquisition needed)
• Labor & the local economy win (construction work still needed)
• Traveling public wins (improved service decades sooner)
• Eastside cities win (minimal disruption, minimal additional train noise)
• Sacramento wins (faster travel to Capitol, decades sooner)
• Safety wins (grade crossings on major arterials replaced by grade separations)
• HSR travel wins (faster Valley rail travel will stimulate interest in other corridors)

Disadvantages–None

Other Possible Projects

The following near-term projects would support future HSR, if funding is available:
LA Union Station “run-through” tracks; “LOSSAN” (Pacific Surfliner) corridor improvements including grade separations for the 3 most dangerous grade crossings in the LA-Anaheim rail segment; Caltrain Extension to Downtown San Francisco.

Significant Transit & Rail Stories, May 14, 2014

BART Safety Rules Could Impact Service in Future
 http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11449060/bart-safety-rules-could-impact-service-in-future?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140503002

Why Bus Rapid Transit Has Stalled In Bay Area
 http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Why-bus-rapid-transit-has-stalled-in-Bay-Area-5461409.php

Estimated Cost of Key Bullet Train Segment Rises $1 Billion
 http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-bullet-train-costs-20140508-story.html

Long Rails Arrive In Novato As SMART Work Continues
http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_25718348/long-rails-arrive-novato-work-continues-smart-train

Hudson River Tunnels Have Up To 30 Years Life Left, Says Amtrak
http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2014/05/hudson-river-rail-tunnels-have-up-to-20-years-left-amtrak-says.aspx?utm_campaign=Rail-Transit-NEW-20140507&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Los Angeles Union Station Celebrates 75 Years
http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2014/05/los-angeles-union-station-celebrates-75-years.aspx?utm_campaign=Rail-Transit-NEW-20140507&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Feds Give Sacramento Streetcar A Green Light
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11445314/feds-give-sacramento-streetcar-the-green-light?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140501002

We’ll Believe It When We See It Dept: Optimistic Report On New Bay Bridge Maintenance
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Optimistic-report-on-new-Bay-Bridge-s-maintenance-5458147.php

Dollars, Dollars, Dollars Dept: US Congress Faces Highway [and Transit] Funding Battle; Deadlock Looms
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/07/us-usa-congress-transportation-idUSBREA4604J20140507

San Francisco Leaders $1.5 Billion Push For Muni Funding
http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/S-F-leaders-begin-1-5-billion-push-for-transit-5455226.php

Don’t Mess With This Guy Dept:  Undercover Cops At New Jersey Transit
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/05/now_retired_newark_penn_station_undercover_officers_cover_can_be_blown.html

10,000 Pack Orlando SunRail On Opening Day, Causing Big Delays
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11436273/fl-10000-pack-sunrail-on-opening-day-causes-delays?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140426002

Heads Roll On Long Island Dept: LIRR President Fired
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11433649/helena-williams-fired-as-lirr-president?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140425003

SF Muni T-Third Street Line “Sardine City” On Giants’ Game Days
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11433646/muni-t-third-line-jam-packed-on-giants-game-days?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140425003

Tut, Tut How So British Dept: Amtrak Launches Pilot Program Allowing Cats And Dogs
http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2014/04/amtrak-launches-pilot-allowing-cats-and-dogs-on-trains.aspx?utm_campaign=Rail-Transit-NEW-20140430&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Muni Better Late Than Never Dept: SF Muni Installs Between Car Barriers On LRVs
http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2014/04/san-francisco-muni-installs-between-car-barriers.aspx?utm_campaign=Rail-Transit-NEW-20140430&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Well, Only $108 Million Dept: Morgantown To Modernize Its PRT System
 [Well, this could buy a 4-5 mile modern streetcar system so they’re not stuck with one-of-a-kind proprietary PRT gadgets and doodads, but we digress…]
http://blogs.post-gazette.com/news/the-roundabout/41337-wvu-to-modernize-unique-personal-rapid-transit-system

Well, BRT IS Popular With Academics & Bureaucrats Dept: Protesters Decry San Bernadino LNG-Powered BRT

http://blog.pe.com/news/2014/04/29/san-bernardino-protestors-disrupt-bus-line-kickoff/

Doh! Homer! Dept: You May Be Addicted To Your Car 
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/04/you-may-be-addicted-your-car/8998/

Disability Activists Rally For Accessibility Changes To Future BART Cars
http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/disability-advocates-rally-for-accessibility-changes-in-future-bart-cars/Content?oid=2784714

TRANSDEF Analysis Critiques HSR Greenhouse Emissions Analysis

TRANSDEF released its analysis on April 23, 2014 of the CHSRA’s Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels (June 2013). In short, the construction of HSR would generate more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it would reduce, for at least 2 decades. Because of this, it would be illegal to use cap and trade funds, which are intended to reduce GHGs, to build HSR.

What’s especially surprising about the CHSRA’s report is its overtly deceitful manner of hiding its construction emissions, and its failure to provide comprehensive emissions numbers, despite being tasked by the Legislature with identifying the project’s net GHG benefits. Perhaps not so surprising are the two high-level Administration officials that gave their unqualified endorsements to the report.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has announced a new plan to allocate cap and trade funds to support SB 375 Sustainable Communities. That plan proposes to devote 20% of revenues to HSR. The proposal is troubling above and beyond its inclusion of HSR in the grab bag. It politicizes the use of cap and trade funds, departing from ARB’s strict approach of maximally reducing GHGs with the funds. The proposal would encourage the gaming of the evaluation of project GHG emissions, which could gravely harm the state’s climate change efforts.

Used with permission from TRANSDEF. Original post at TRANSDEF Analysis of HSR Greenhouse Emissions Analysis.

Bringing More Train Travel To California