Senate Committee to Focus on Supporting Southern California Rail Corridor
Blakespear to chair newly created transportation subcommittee aimed at improving rail service through a 6-county region
SACRAMENTO – The Senate Transportation Committee has created a new subcommittee led by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to study the LOSSAN Rail Corridor and how to improve infrastructure and service along the 351-mile heavy rail and commuter line.
The LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency Subcommittee will be charged with working with stakeholders to identify investment opportunities to ensure the corridor is positioned to be a high-quality, transportation option for generations to come. LOSSAN, which stands for Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo, runs through six counties in Southern California and is vital to the movement of freight and passengers through the region. The line is the second busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the United States.
Weather-related and erosion events over the last few years, including the alarming track shifts in San Clemente last September, shut down passenger service between Irvine and Oceanside. Limited passenger service through the area has been restored, but the work required to stabilize the track highlighted the vulnerability of the line and the need to identify long-term, resilient solutions and investments to support the entire corridor.
“The recent interruption of passenger service along the LOSSAN Rail Corridor, and the problems it has caused, has illustrated how crucial this line is to our region,” Blakespear said. “I thank Sen. Lena Gonzalez, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, for recognizing the importance of this line and establishing a subcommittee to focus on it.”
Along with Blakespear, the members of the Senate Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency are Sens. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara; Josh Newman, D-Fullerton; Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach; and Thomas Umberg, D-Santa Ana. Hearings will begin this spring.
On Feb. 4, passenger service was restored between Irvine and Oceanside on Saturdays and Sundays, after emergency construction stabilized the hillside and the tracks. Full weekday service is expected to restart in April.
Bluff erosion and sea-level rise are expected to threaten other portions of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor as well and underscore the need for a long-term strategy.
Through the work of Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, the state allocated $300 million to the San Diego Association of Governments last year to design a relocation of the tracks along an unstable, cliff-side section in Del Mar. The funding is for completion of the environmental process for a tunnel project to move the tracks inland.
Elected in November, Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern coastal San Diego County and part of Orange County and includes the communities of Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside and Mission Viejo.