RTC Presents Rail Line Update to CTC

On March 13, RTC Executive Director Guy Preston provided an update on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) at its meeting in Los Angeles, California. In his presentation, Mr. Preston discussed how the RTC has been meeting the requirements of the Proposition 116 funds that the agency received to purchase the rail line. He reported that to meet the requirements, the RTC developed a plan to provide freight and recreational passenger service on the railway. Mr. Preston also discussed the steps that the RTC is taking related to public transit service on the line, including adoption of the Unified Corridor Investment Study preferred scenario that unanimously affirmed leaving the railroad infrastructure in place and preserving the corridor for future high-capacity public transit service. Mr. Preston reported that the RTC will be advancing an Alternatives Analysis on the corridor to better define the high-capacity public transit options. CTC staff told commissioners that it appears that the RTC is meeting Prop 116 requirements with the continuation of freight service, the decision not to remove the track, the planned repairs of storm damage, and the expected return of recreational rail passenger services on the line.

CTC Commissioners requested a business plan for rail transit on the line. CTC staff offered to work with RTC staff on a high-level timetable/schedule and interim business plan for transit service that goes beyond the current plan for only freight and recreational service.

CTC commissioners emphasized that it would be up to the community to either meet the Proposition 116 fund requirements for rail service or reimburse the funds used to purchase the line to the State. 

To watch the video of the RTC presentation to the CTC, see the “Webcast Recording: March 13– Part 2”. The RTC presentation starts at approximately minute 38:18.