Oceanside, CA – The North County Transit District (NCTD) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) announced today that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) 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 (LOSSAN) 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 (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,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember. “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 mid-term 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 the City of 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,” said SANDAG Chair and City of Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. “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.
About NCTD: The North County Transit District is a public transportation agency providing over 10 million passenger trips in Fiscal Year 2019 throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego. NCTD is designated as a rail common carrier by the Surface Transportation Board based on the movement of interstate commerce on the tracks and the Railroad of Record by the Federal Railroad Administration responsible for safety over the entire San Diego portion of the LOSSAN corridor. NCTD’s system includes BREEZE buses (with FLEX service), COASTER commuter trains, SPRINTER hybrid rail trains, and LIFT paratransit service. NCTD’s mission is to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services. For more information visit: GoNCTD.com.
About SANDAG: The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.
To protect the health and safety of staff, partners, and the general public, SANDAG offices are closed to the public. Our team is working remotely during this time to provide essential services, and to continue progress on critical regional projects. SANDAG will continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 in the region and follow guidance from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.