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Proposed Train Project Coachella Valley To Los Angeles

Proposed Train Project Coachella Valley To Los Angeles

The proposed 144-mile commuter rail project would link the Coachella Valley to San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Project Status: LONG-TERM CONSTRUCTION

RCTC CVR Logo for Phase II

Status: Long Term

Location: Coachella Valley

Type of Project: Rail Corridor

Location: Between Los Angeles and Indio

Construction: Long Range

Investment: Initial Tier 1/Program EIS/EIR $6 million; costs to be determined for future project phases and construction.

WHERE WE ARE TODAY

OVERVIEW

The Riverside County Transportation Commission, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration and the California Department of Transportation, is working to bring passenger rail service as an alternate mode of travel across southern California, connecting desert communities and attractions with Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

The proposed Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor extends approximately 144 miles between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley with stops in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.

RCTC and Caltrans is seeking federal funding for the next phase of work on this regionally transformative project. Register your support for this project at rctc.org/support

The Riverside County Transportation Commission, Caltrans, and the Federal Railroad Administration have been studying the 144-mile passenger rail service corridor between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley, with the eastern endpoint in either Indio or Coachella. The service is planned with an approximate trip time of 3 hours and 15 minutes with planned stops in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. Twice daily roundtrips are proposed.

PROPOSED ROUTE

Amtrak will likely provide the intercity service on existing tracks shared with other freight and passenger rail operators, according to the RCTC.

The estimated project cost is $1 billion.

Many Riverside County officials have advocated for train service into the desert from the west.

“The service would offer an alternative to driving or riding the bus, serve residential and job centers along the corridor, enhance access to Coachella Valley tourism and boost economic development from the tourism industry, reduce vehicle miles traveled on I-10 and other major highways, and improve air quality, especially in disadvantaged communities that align highways,” according to the RCTC.

RCTC Chair and Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik said, “We look forward to the day that train passengers can fully experience the attractions of our beautiful Coachella Valley. I see this as a transformational project — it will truly change how people travel between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley.”

PROJECT STATUS

The Draft Tier 1/Program Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report comment period was from May 21 to July 6, 2021.

Station locations, funding, and the timing for the start of construction and service will be identified during the future Tier 2 Project Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.

Riverside County supervisors voted in October to submit a request to the federal government seeking funding to complete environmental studies associated with a 144-mile commuter rail project linking the Coachella Valley to San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“This has been an ongoing desire for decades — connecting the Coachella Valley to Los Angeles,” Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Spiegel said. “This money would really start this to see it take its course.”

Spiegel joined Supervisor Manuel Perez in asking for the full board’s backing for grant funds to move the Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor Project forward. The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Jeff Hewitt absent due to illness.

“This is a milestone for us,” Perez said. “I look forward for this to be accomplished and brought to fruition.”

The initial environmental impact report on the project was completed earlier this year, and additional assessments are required to reach the next phase, according to the supervisors.

Up to $60 million may be needed to complete impact studies on six proposed rail stations, as well as a third main track line and grade crossings along the eastern section of the project zone, encompassing roughly 76 miles, officials said.

Spiegel and Perez are eyeing federal “Build Back Better” grant funds available via the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “regional challenge” awards system, according to documents posted to the board’s agenda.

The Riverside County Transportation Agency is the project manager, working in collaboration with Caltrans and the Federal Railroad Administration, documents stated.

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Tags assigned to this article:
Coachella ValleyIndioInfluencersTrain Services

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