On-Going Sate Reinvestment Needed to Sustain Train Service
Oakland, CA — In an effort to protect the State of California’s 18-year investment in passenger rail, an “Intercity Passenger Rail Day” in Sacramento will be held where legislators, transportation executives, corridor managers and elected officials will discuss strategies to sustain and expand intercity passenger service. The media is invited to the lunch reception and program, which will be held at Capitol Plaza (Temple Ballroom), 1025 9th Street in Sacramento on Thursday, February 21, 2008 at noon.
“Since 2001, California’s population grew 11%,” said Capitol Corridor Managing Director Eugene Skoropowski. “In that same period, vehicle miles traveled grew only 8%, while ridership on California’s three intercity passenger rail lines increased a whopping 43%–train ridership is exceeding all growth expectations. Now more than 20% of all Amtrak’s riders are in California.” Skoropowski added.
Intercity rail is the only mode of transport with no source of federal capital match. “California’s intercity passenger rail network success was accomplished with 100% voter-approved state funding,” said Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) Chair Forrest Williams. “To continue our success and protect California’s investment in intercity rail services, we need on-going, consistent, and reliable flow of state capital funding that we can depend on.”
After the reception, the Chairs of all four intercity passenger rail corridors will speak on the benefits, challenges, emerging services and opportunities of the state’s intercity passenger rail network. They will use this forum to urge all legislators to commit to providing an annual stream of funding to sustain and improve the state’s passenger rail system.
“In this era of environmental awareness and concern and rising gas prices, reinvesting in our passenger intercity rail systems gives California drivers a viable travel alternative,” said CCJPA Chair Forrest Williams. “Each year, millions of passengers choose to take our trains instead of driving our busy freeways. California’s reinvestment for intercity passenger rail is essential to help meet the Governor’s greenhouse gas reduction strategies.”