New California Charger Clean Diesel-Electric Locomotives Debut

Last week, the State unveiled the its newest locomotives built by Siemens in California, for California. The Siemens Charger Clean Diesel-Electric Locomotives were built in in the Sacramento region and will be hitting the tracks in the coming days.

Photo Apr 18, 2 09 32 PM

These new locomotives are the first passenger locomotives to receive Tier IV emissions certification from the Federal Rail Administration utilizing green technology to meet the federal standards. These new locomotives will be able to reach speeds of 125 mph and are over 70% more emission-friendly than the locomotives they will replace.

“This is a great California story. We’re going to be moving people throughout the state of California in a much cleaner way and that’s an important part of all of our transportation investments,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “I couldn’t be more proud to say that this locomotive is both built and delivered here in California.”

The Charger locomotives will initially be used on two Northern California Amtrak routes: the Capitol Corridor and the San Joaquin. As more get delivered, they will also be utilized on the Pacific Surfliner route. The new locomotives also utilize state-of-the-art crash energy management features and are equipped with positive train control technology to further enhance safety.

“These Chargers will help provide California’s passenger rail services with a fleet of locomotives that meet very stringent emission standards,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Not only will they make for a more sustainable transportation system, but are also expected to improve reliability and help efforts to double current statewide ridership of 5.4 million passengers by 2040.”

The first set, six in all for Northern California, are part of a larger, multi-state procurement. Siemens is building the Charger locomotives out of its nearly 1,000-person rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, California for transportation agencies in California (Caltrans), Illinois (IDOT), Washington (WSDOT) and Maryland (MTA). Additional states served by the procurement are Oregon, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa.

According to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) Managing Director, David Kutrosky, “These diesel-electric locomotives will result in a better overall experience for our passengers. They are cleaner and quieter, and offer a smoother ride. We’re excited to debut these Sacramento-built Tier 4 engines on the Capitol Corridor.”

Soon, riders on the Capitol Corridor line can jump on a train powered by one of these cleaner locomotives and enjoy the ride. For more information about the Capitol Corridor: http://www.capitolcorridor.org/

California announces initial list of priority infrastructure projects ready for funding

Working with local cities, counties, and regions, California put forward an initial list of priority infrastructure projects today to the National Governor’s Association for consideration by the federal government. These key projects represent over $100 billion in targeted investments around the state. These investments will build and improve roads, levees, bridges, ports, and train and public transit systems. The total list also includes water storage and recycling projects, as well as energy, military, veterans and emergency operations facilities and services.

In the short-term, these projects will benefit businesses up and down the state and put thousands to work -many in communities with the highest rates of unemployment. Long-term, this investment will have lasting, expansive economic benefits by moving goods and people faster, protecting vulnerable communities from flooding, bolstering emergency response capabilities, saving and storing more water and improving energy reliability.

To prepare for the future – and complement federal investments – California is doing its part by working on legislation to ensure a permanent and sustainable funding stream is in place to further support road, highway and other critical infrastructure construction and improvements – part of a I0-year transportation investment plan.California is home to one out of every eight Americans and when we build in California, we build for America.

Find the list of projects here: http://gov.ca.gov/docs/CA_Infrastructure_Letter_and_Projects_2.7.17.pdf

CA High Speed Rail recognized by US Departments of Treasury and Transportation for Transformative Impact

Two recent reports from the federal government highlighted California High Speed Rail’s (HSR) economic impact. The US Department of Transportation recognized the impact that federal dollars have had on CA High Speed Rail in its final report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The report, Shovel Worthy: What the Recovery Act Taught Us About Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure, showed how the Central Valley region is seeing the early benefits of the progress being made on the nation’s first high-speed rail system through job creation and business participation both large and small.

The Recovery Act provided funding for the preliminary engineering and environmental clearance for the corridor. It also provided funding for the final design and construction of the 119-mile-long Central Valley construction package that US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx toured last year. This investment in the Central Valley has led to an economic turnaround in the region. The ARRA report focuses on the economic benefits that the City of Fresno has received from Recovery Act funds. Through strategic investments, including high-speed rail construction, Fresno’s unemployment rate went from 18 percent in 2011 to 9.3 percent in 2016.

The report also highlighted the work that HSRA is doing with Small and Disadvantaged Business participation in the construction of the project. Two small businesses were highlighted in the report, Outback Materials and Valverde Construction. Valverde Construction is a certified Hispanic Owned Small Business that is has a contract for utility relocation. Valverde expanded their business through the contract, opening an office in Fresno and hiring additional workers.

Outback Materials is a certified small business based in Fresno that provides concrete for construction in the region. Outback Materials invested $3 million to build a state-of-the art plant in Fresno and hired 25 new employees. Hear owner Curtis Lovett describe how Outback Materials has benefited and expanded as a result of work for high-speed rail:

The other report, commissioned by the US Department of the Treasury on behalf of the Build America Investment Initiative, identified 40 proposed transportation and water infrastructure projects of major economic significance that face challenges to their completion. The aim was to show the public the economic benefits of completing these projects.

According to the study, HSR ranked third in net economic benefit and cost ratio and would have projected net economic benefit of $130-260 billion. Project benefits included:

  • Travel time, reliability, travel cost and productivity benefits for users transferring from auto to HSR.
  • Travel time, reliability, safety and emission benefits for highway users traveling in less congested conditions due to mode shift from auto to HSR.
  • Passenger delay, operating cost and emission savings in the aviation sector due to mode shift from air to HSR.

With more than 119-miles of active construction in the Central Valley, construction of a high-speed rail line between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley is planned to be complete by 2024, with passenger service beginning in 2025. More on the project: http://hsr.ca.gov/

Capitol Corridor Celebrates 25 Years of Service

On Tuesday, Secretary Kelly joined the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) to celebrate 25 years of service from Sacramento to San Jose. In 1990, voters recognized the need to fund passenger train service between the Bay Area and Sacramento and, through Prop 108 and Prop 111, supported bond measures to help fund the Capitol Corridor.

Service started in 1991 with just six trains making three round trips daily, at that point annual ridership was 238,000. For Valley locals and Bay Area denizens alike, the amenities of passenger rail did not go unnoticed. In 1991, a review in the Lodi News-Sentinel noted that the train had an observation platform, spacious cars with high-backed reclining seats, and a snack-bar car.

inagtrainPhoto Courtesy of CCJPA

In 1996, SB 457, the Intercity Passenger Rail Act authored by State Senator David Kelley created the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Board, comprised of six local transportation agencies along the route. The CCJPA was tasked with running the train service and increasing ridership. Today, the Board also includes two metropolitan planning organizations, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Over the past 25 years, the Capitol Corridor trains have continued to increase service from three to fifteen weekday round trips and provide important direct connections with 10 local public transit systems and five passenger rail systems. Perhaps as a nod to California’s innovation centers, the Capitol Corridor was the first in the nation to test and develop Amtrak’s mobile ticketing systems and among the first to add in-train Wi-Fi.

2016 was a record-setting year for the CCJPA with ridership and revenue up significantly. The Capitol Corridor is the second highest ridership corridor on the Amtrak system, outside of the Northeast Corridor, carrying a record 1,560,000 riders last year.

Intercity rail continues to play a pivotal role in our transportation landscape. At CalSTA, we’ve recognized the great success of the Capitol Corridor route and have continued to work with the CCJPA to make service more efficient, reliable, and accessible. In 2015, CalSTA invested Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funding in a $15 million effort to reduce travel times by 10 minutes between Sacramento and San Jose, benefiting not just the Capitol Corridor, but also ACE and San Joaquin rail services.

In August, CalSTA announced an additional award of TIRCP funding as part of a $70 million program to increase rail service to Roseville, and to develop a service optimization plan to increase ridership through improved reliability, better schedules and service integration, and more efficient service delivery. The funding will conduct track and facility improvements for 3 peak period Amtrak trains in each direction per day between Sacramento and Roseville. The additional service will not only benefit commuters to Sacramento, but those traveling to Davis, Solano County and all the way into the Bay Area.

We look forward to celebrating another 25 years of success with the CCJPA!

For more information on the Capitol Corridor, click here.

State Releases Final Plan to Transform Freight System

Sacramento – In response to an Executive Order issued last year by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., state agency leaders today released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system into one that is environmentally cleaner, more efficient, and more economically competitive than it is today.

The revised document is similar to the draft version issued in May 2016, but reflects new input provided by industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders, who submitted more than 85 comments on the draft plan.

“We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes, and we will continue to consult with them as we put the Plan into action” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “This dialogue — and a commitment to shared responsibility for and ownership of this plan– is the underpinning for the successful transformation of our freight transport system and the multiple benefits it will bring to our environment, communities and our economy.”

Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Action Plan was prepared by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, with broad stakeholder input.

“The Sustainable Freight Action Plan reflects the hard work done by the partners to address the needs of the freight industry,” said Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi. “GO-Biz will continue working with our stakeholders in the business community to see that the Action Plan builds upon ongoing efforts to modernize the freight industry while reducing emissions and keeping it competitive through commercially viable and affordable technologies.”

The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.” Benefits include meeting the state’s freight infrastructure, public health, air quality and climate goals.

The Action Plan includes a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system along with these targets for 2030:

  • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by
  • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020.
  • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.

The plan also identifies opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments, pinpoints actions to initiate over the next five years to meet goals, and lists possible pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near term.

“This Sustainable Freight Action Plan reflects an investment strategy that’s right for California: expand economic development, create jobs and protect our environment. The plan doesn’t choose between these objectives, but proposes strategies to achieve them all. I look forward to turning this plan into action,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly.

Among the new additions to the final plan are placing more focus on key partnerships and a discussion of toxic hot spots. Changes have also been made throughout the document to clarify and emphasize the collaboration between the responsible agencies and other regional planning efforts, including funding.

“The Energy Commission appreciates the collaboration amongst our sister agencies and engaged stakeholders across the state to develop an action plan to address Governor Brown’s call to action on sustainable freight,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “We look forward to working with our partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions identified in the Action Plan and to carrying out actions that will help California to meet its clean air standards and climate goals.”

Next steps for state agencies will include continued work with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan. The state agencies will also create collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.

Regular California Freight Advisory Committee meetings will continue, and by July 2017, the state agencies will establish work plans for chosen pilot projects.

Currently, California is the nation’s largest gateway for international trade and domestic commerce, with an interconnected system of ports, railroads, highways and roads that allow freight from around the world to move throughout the state and nation. This system is responsible for one-third of the state’s economic product and jobs, with freight dependent industries accounting for over $740 billion in gross domestic product and over five million jobs in 2014.

For more information about California’s Freight Plan : http://www.casustainablefreight.org/

 

 

 

 

New Sustainable Transportation System Envisioned

For generations, people have come to California to live and work in one of the most vibrant and diverse places on Earth.  Our transportation system supports our quality of life by providing residents access to opportunities and delivers goods to market.  However, the livability and economy of California faces new challenges in the era of climate change — and the transportation system must do our part to reduce these threats to our environment and health.  Per the requirements of Senate Bill 391 (2009), this is the first California Transportation Plan (CTP) published that provides a pathway for our sector to help meet our State climate goals.  Fortunately, climate goals can be achieved while providing Californians with what they most seek from the transportation system—quality mobility choices to reliably get them to their destinations.

With approved Sustainable Communities Strategies, our regional partners are already leading the way towards transportation and land use patterns that will provide cost-effective transportation solutions and also improve livability in our communities.  Such regional plans value efficient land use by locating more housing closer to job centers and recognize consumer demand by proposing to invest in multiple modes.  This CTP 2040 builds upon these regional efforts and articulates how the State will reinforce them and take further state-level action to build a more sustainable future.  The CTP 2040 has six overarching goals:

  • Improve Multimodal Mobility and Accessibility for All People
  • Preserve the Multimodal Transportation System
  • Support a Vibrant Economy
  • Improve Public Safety and Security
  • Foster Livable and Healthy Communities and Promote Social Equity
  • Practice Environmental Stewardship

Each goal has a series of related implementation strategies to reach the goals over the next twenty-five years. By 2040, California will have completed an integrated rail system linking every major region in the State, with seamless one-ticket transfers to local transit.  Responding to the desires of millennials and aging baby-boomers alike, we will further invest in complete, safe pedestrian and bicycle networks.  Through the CTP 2040, we reiterate a “fix-it first” approach that will improve operations and lower maintenance costs for our highways, roads, and bridges.  In partnership with sister agencies, we are advancing a California Sustainable Freight Action Plan to support the freight economy and meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.  We will continue to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and other technology innovations.

Achieving the goals of the CTP 2040 will take significant effort and deep partnerships with regional, local and tribal governments. However, the plan and associated modeling demonstrates California can achieve a low carbon transportation system that meets State policy objectives of livable communities, economic growth and emission reductions.   We encourage all our partners to review the plan, and find opportunities to align their own actions to support a sustainable transportation system.

The CTP 2040 is available at http://www.californiatransportationplan2040.org

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Wes Lum with his fold-up bicycle. Showing how fold-up bikes are used during mass transit.