Agency and Caltrans Seek Public Input on Intercity Rail and Transit Program Draft Guidelines

New Cap-and-Trade-Funded Programs Will Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Mobility

SACRAMENTO—In preparation for two upcoming public workshops, the California State Transportation Agency today published draft guidelines for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, a new grant program for rail and bus capital improvements that integrate state and local rail and other transit systems. This program is funded initially with $25 million in the 2014-15 state budget, and starting in 2015-16, with 10% of annual auction proceeds going forward.

Earlier this week, Caltrans published draft guidelines for another new grant program, the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program, designed to support new or expanded bus and rail services, especially in disadvantaged communities.

The workshops are an opportunity to discuss the draft guidelines for both these programs and offer comments:

December 10: Southern California
San Bernardino Associated Governments
1170 W 3rd Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410
9-11 am, Director’s Board Room

December 17: Northern California
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812
9-11 am, Byron Sher Auditorium

Written comments can also be submitted to tircpcomments [at] dot.ca [dot] gov for the Capital Program and to lctopcomments [at] dot.ca [dot] gov for the Operations Program.

The 2014-15 State Budget provides $832 million to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to support existing and pilot programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities. This expenditure plan will reduce emissions through several programs, including ones modernizing the state’s rail system (including both high-speed rail and public transit), encouraging sustainable community development with an emphasis on public transportation and affordable housing, restoring forests in both urban and rural settings, increasing energy, water, and agricultural efficiency and creating incentives for additional recycling. And under SB 535 (De Leon) at least 25 percent of these funds will be invested for the benefit of California’s most disadvantaged communities.

As part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, the Transportation Agency will administer $25 million in funding in 2014-15, via a competitive grant program, to rail and bus transit operators for capital improvements that integrate state and local rail and other transit systems. These will include projects located in disadvantaged communities and those that provide connectivity to the high-speed rail system. In subsequent years, the Capital Program will receive 10% of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The draft guidelines for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program are located here.

The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program allocates $25 million in 2014-15, distributed by the State Transit Assistance Program formula, for local transit agencies to support new or expanded bus and rail services. With an emphasis on disadvantaged communities, approved projects will support new or expanded bus or rail services, or expanded intermodal transit facilities. They may also include equipment acquisition, fueling, and maintenance and other costs to operate those services or facilities, with each project reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In subsequent years, the Capital Program will receive 5% of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The draft guidelines for the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program are located here.

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