Line now in public ownership
As of October 12, 2012, the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line is in public ownership. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for Santa Cruz County undertook an extensive analysis and due diligence before acquiring the property. Potential uses include the following:
- Short Term: Increase freight rail service, seasonal passenger rail service
- Medium Term: Bicycle & Pedestrian path where feasible in conjunction with rail services
- Long Term: Passenger Transit
Rail Improvement Efforts
In the past, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) has undertaken the following efforts to analyze, test, maintain and improve rail service in Santa Cruz County:
- Due diligence documents
- Studies for potential passenger rail service analyzed potential service between Watsonville and Santa Cruz and to Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Demonstration trains tested interest in rail service
- Secured state funding approval on January 19, 2011.
- Recreational rail service for which the RTC completed a draft environmental document in 2005 for service between the City of Capitola and Seascape in Aptos
- The “Around the Bay” rail study completed in 1998 in cooperation with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County for potential service between Santa Cruz and Monterey with linking service to the San Francisco Bay Area and the Salinas valley.
- The Major Transportation Investment Study (MTIS) for service between Watsonville and Santa Cruz to UCSC was completed in 1998 and analyzed potential
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