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March 2015

COACHELLA VALLEY-SAN GORGONIO PASS CORRIDOR RAIL SERVICE

The possible expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service to the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass area was the topic of discussion at two public meetings during the month of February. Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), in coordination with Caltrans, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), is studying the expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service to the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass. The service is envisioned to provide an integrated, sustainable travel mode, promote economic opportunities, and foster more livable communities. Currently, there are very limited transit connections between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. This service would provide new travel options between job centers and Coachella Valley tourism destinations. There was a good turnout at the public open house meetings in Banning and Palm Desert with over 95 participants in person, 50 more viewing the live webcast, and 80 more who have watched it since. For your chance to watch the project overview or fill out a public input survey, please visit CVRailProject.info. The next steps for the project include a detailed alternatives analysis and a ridership, revenue, and cost analysis. The initial phase of this study is anticipated to be complete by the fall of 2015.

DECLINING TRANSPORTATION REVENUE

Roads are the bedrock of California's jobs and economy. Everyone - transit riders, bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers - accesses our roads and is affected when they are unsafe or congested. California's transportation funding is deteriorating, which means so will Riverside County's roads and bridges. Riverside County governments are facing a loss of more than $26 million in a single year due to the reduction of the state's fuel excise tax. Statewide, the loss is estimated at $870 million. Additional details regarding declining transportation revenue is available here and here.

INTERSTATE 10 CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENTS

On March 6, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) celebrated the completion of the Interstate 10/Monterey Avenue Interchange. Improvements included the widening of the westbound on-ramp, metering, and landscaping. Continuing their efforts to ensure mobility on the I-10 corridor, CVAG will break ground on the I-10/Jefferson Street Interchange on March 20, 2015. This $71.4 million project will replace the existing Jefferson Street Bridge. When completed, in 2017, the project will significantly improve traffic flow and air quality.

I-10/Monterey Avenue Interchange Ribbon Cutting

SANTA ANA RIVER TRAIL

Approval was given at the March 2015 Commission meeting to enter into an agreement with the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District for project management services to complete the design phase and management of the construction phase of the Santa Ana River Trail project.

There are a total of 30 miles of river trail in Riverside County. Sixteen of the 30 miles have been constructed leaving 14 miles still undeveloped. The Santa Ana River Trail project RCTC is managing for delivery for the Regional Park District is 10 miles of the remaining 14 miles of unconstructed river trails in Riverside County. The total trail from the Pacific Ocean (Orange County) to Big Bear in San Bernardino County is approximately 100 miles long. When completed the trail, traveling through the various counties, will be the longest paved bicycle and pedestrian corridor in Southern California.

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Speaker’s Bureau

The Commission maintains a speaker's bureau that actively makes presentations throughout the county on transportation issues. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation for your service club or community organization, please contact Eliza Echevarria at (951) 787-7141 or eechevarria@rctc.org.

Commissioners and/or staff participated at the following events:

February 17: University of California, Riverside's Extension Program - Presentation on Rail in Riverside County

February 17: Southern California Association of Governments' Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign - Los Angeles

February 17: League of California Cities' Regional Training - Banning

February 18: Green River Road Home Owner's Association - 91 Project - Corona

February 19: Riverside Town Hall - Supervisor Jeffries/Ward 7 Meeting - Riverside

February 19: Riverside County's Active Transportation Network Group - Riverside

February 23: Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Public Meeting - Banning and Palm Desert

February 26: Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Public Meeting -Palm Desert

February 24: Senate Transportation Hearing - Sacramento

February 25: KPTR Radio Interview for Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Rail - The Steve Kelly Show - Palm Springs

February 25: Active Transportation Program Workshop - Cycle 2 - Sacramento

February 26: University of California, Riverside and Western Riverside Council of Governments' Future Cities Conference - Riverside

March 2: Riverside Conservation Authority - MSHCP's Impact on RCTC - Riverside

March 5: San Gorgonio T-Now Chapter Meeting - Presentation on Coachella Valley - San Gorgonio Rail

March 6: Ribbon Cutting for the Monterey Avenue Interchange Project - Coachella Valley

March 6 - 10: American Public Transportation Association - Legislative Conference - Washington, DC

March 10: Mobility 21's Legislative Reception - Sacramento

March 10: Community Transit Meeting - Mecca/East Coachella Valley

March 11: Supervisor Jeffries' Town Hall Meeting - Temescal Valley

UPCOMING POLICY MEETINGS

The following RCTC policy meetings are currently scheduled; however, please check the RCTC website at http://www.rctc.org/about-us/agendas-and-meetings a few days prior to the meeting to download the agenda and check to make sure the meeting has not been cancelled:

  • 3/23/2015 - 9:30 a.m. - Budget and Implementation Committee
  • 3/23/2015 - 1:30 p.m. - Western Riverside County Programs and Projects Committee
  • 4/8/2015 - 9:30 a.m. - Commission Meeting

Follow RCTC on Twitter

If you use Twitter, you can follow the Commission at twitter.com/RCTC.

RCTC'S 511 PROGRAM

twitter.com/ie511Interested in what’s happening with traffic in the Inland Empire? IE511 is your best source for getting around Southern California. Real‑time traffic for Southern California, including travel times, freeway cameras, and incident information. IE511 also offers bus and rail transit information as well as rideshare for those seeking an alternative to automobile travel. Connect on the go. Call 511 within the Inland Empire or rely on IE511 wherever you go by calling 1‑877‑MYIE511.

Riverside County Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 12008 • Riverside, CA 92502‑2208 • Phone: (951) 787‑7141 • Fax: (951) 787‑7920
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