Friday, October 13, 2017

Caltrans releases draft state rail plan

Written by  Stuart Chirls, senior editor, Railway Age

Caltrans released the public draft of the California State Rail Plan, which outlines a new framework for California's rail network, for new and better rail transportation, and multimodal and community connections in the state for the next 20 years and beyond.

 

"The plan will guide the state's priorities for rail investments that support California's economy for future generations," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Public feedback is critical to ensure that the strategies developed reflect the diverse needs of all communities throughout the state."

Unlike prior plans, Caltrans will set strategic investments to create an easy-to-use rail system offering faster and more frequent service, customer-friendly timed multimodal connections, integrated ticketing and trip planning, and increased reliability of travel in congested corridors around the state. The plan outlines a series of investments to connect most communities in California to each other at least every hour throughout the day, with many regions being connected with half-hourly service. It also highlights the critical role for the rail system to be expanded in its ability to move a growing volume of freight cleanly and efficiently.

The agency is seeking public input throughout the planning process to understand the public's priorities for passenger and freight rail. The public comment period begins Oct. 11 and ends Dec. 11. The public can submit comments on the Rail Plan through the project website's online comment form or visit http://www.CaliforniaStateRailPlan.com. The project website provides the latest project information, including the draft plan, and visitors can join the project email list to receive future notifications and updates.

During the public comment period, Caltrans will host seven public workshops across the state, as well as an online statewide webinar.