Press Release

Legislation to Revitalize Southern California Rail Passes Senate Transportation Committee

SB 1098 follows up on the work of the LOSSAN subcommittee to improve management and support of the 351-mile rail line 

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to revitalize the rail corridor that runs from San Diego through six Southern California counties to San Luis Obispo passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

SB 1098, which follows on the work of the Senate Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency chaired by Sen. Blakespear, aims to provide stronger management, support and direction for the rail line to optimize passenger service.

“Rail is essential to meeting California’s transportation needs in a climate-friendly way,” Sen. Blakespear said. “SB 1098 takes management of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor to the next level so we can make rail services reliable, efficient and more effective at moving people and taking cars off the road.”

There has been growing concern in recent years over the LOSSAN Rail Corridor’s vulnerability. Unstable bluffs or hillsides and coastal erosion in areas across the 351 miles have resulted in prolonged shutdowns to rail service – including five times in Orange County over the last three years, most recently from late January to late March.

Hearings held by the Senate LOSSAN subcommittee in 2023 highlighted the importance of the rail line, which is the nation’s second-busiest intercity rail corridor with the potential to significantly increase ridership with improved planning and coordination. There is urgency to address resiliency challenges and grow ridership to meet the state’s mobility and climate goals.

Advocates, stakeholders and the media have encouraged the state to take bolder action to protect the track from future threats and enhance service.

SB 1098 has three main elements. It would:

  • Direct the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to create a clear list of prioritized capital improvement and resiliency projects along the corridor, and recommend how the state can better support transportation and planning. 
  • Form a local working group to identify a locally driven plan that creates a clear path forward for management, governance and operations that result in improved services along the corridor.
  • Clarify the role of the state secretary of transportation to manage and lead stakeholders to support the LOSSAN corridor and foster transparency with additional data regularly reported to the Legislature.

Last year, Sen. Blakespear authored SB 677, which was signed into law. It directs the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency – which oversees the corridor in coordination with rail owners, operators and planning agencies – to include an assessment of the effects of climate change in its annual business plan that outlines the agency’s major goals and objectives. The assessment must also identify projects to increase climate resiliency and funding options for those projects.

Elected in 2022, Sen. Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.