County Awarded $16M to Expand Transit and Passenger Rail Service

By the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)

California State Transportation Agency recently announced $2.5 billion to fund 16 ongoing public transportation projects statewide to expand transit and passenger rail service. Projects in Santa Barbara county received $16 million from the first of two rounds of funding announcements in the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.

The $16 million for projects in Santa Barbara county were awarded to Santa Barbara County Association of Governments in partnership with the City of Goleta to complete the Goleta Train Depot Project, and Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency to address bluff erosion north of Gaviota State Beach.

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments made a push for more funding for regional public transit and intercity rail from the state legislature that led to historic investments from state to help support vital projects in the region.

“The state of California is making significant investments to bring much-need resources that strengthen infrastructure across the state to improve transportation options and enhance mobility throughout the state,” said Senator Monique Limón. “This marks a historic moment that the state has been able to provide additional investments to support existing projects and I look forward to celebrating the completion of the Goleta Train Depot Project.”

Pacific Surfliner on the Gaviota Coast (Photo: Mike Eliason)

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments was awarded $5.6 million for the Goleta Train Depot project. The award was leveraged by a $1 million local contribution from the City of Goleta. In 2018, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments received $13 million in state Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grant for the Goleta Train Depot project. This is the first time since the state program began in 2015 it has provided supplemental funding for existing projects to be completed.

“The Goleta Train Depot project is a landmark project for our community and now one-step closer to completion with the $5.6 million in funding from the state,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. “We look forward to celebrating the start of construction with the City of Goleta later this year.”

The Goleta Train Depot Project is to construct new multi-modal train station at the existing AMTRAK platform on South La Patera Lane in Goleta with the intent to increase rail ridership and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through the completion of a full-service station, the project will improve connections to bus transit, accommodate transit service to/from the Santa Barbara Airport and the University of California, Santa Barbara, add new bicycle and pedestrian facilities and allow accommodation for potential additional train storage to support increased passenger rail service.

With the help of the $10.4 million state investment, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency is improving coastal resiliency through slope stabilization efforts in Santa Barbara County as part of a Corridor Hardening Improvement Program. Together with Union Pacific Railroad, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency will work toward repairs in areas north of Gaviota State Beach.

The Transit Intercity Rail Capital Program has provided more than $9.1 billion in funding to nearly 100 projects since 2015, funded primarily from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, Cap-and-Trade program proceeds, and the General Fund.

A complete list of the recipients can be found here.

SBCAG staff

Written by SBCAG staff

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)

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  1. Currently, there is no public transportation (MTD) to meet/greet and schlep train passengers from the Goleta or downtown Amtrak stations. It would be nice if there were an electric shuttle from each station that ran only when the trains arrived and 15 minutes or so before their departure. A downtown e-shuttle could take train passengers to the Transit Center and another in Goleta to take passengers to Pine/Hollister. I’ve travelled extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and many other countries that have very good public transportation. It would be nice if California would lead the way….and I mean ACTUALLY lead the way and not spend billions and billions on a high-speed rail system that is basically going to be useless. We live in a car culture…..and that needs to change!

  2. Face it folks, no progress will be made for more than 10 years. They have to renegotiate freight train right of way and or lay another set of tracks. Either one of those would take forever. Huge dream. Soon we will all be flying personal hovercraft powered by unicorn farts and this train thing won’t matter anymore.

  3. Improvement in railroad transportation and infrastructure is sorely needed. We have an 18th century system in a 21st century world (railroad spikes!). It is difficult for railroad (Amtrak) travelers to go north from here, as the line stops in SLO. Passengers then have to take a bus to go north. According to the “Wanderu” travel site, “There are 17 daily trains from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Traveling by train from Los Angeles to San Francisco usually takes around 10 hours and 19 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak train can make the trip in 8 hours and 45 minutes.” The Amtrak site indicates that travel from L.A. to just SLO is 6 hours by train!
    This is ridiculous and shameful for a wealthy country like the U.S. The same distance (L.A. to S.F) trip in Japan (381 miles)would take a little over an HOURr on the Shinkansen train. This train uses superconducting maglev (short for magnetic levitation) to achieve these incredible speeds . Driving this distance takes 6 hours. An air flight from L.A. to S.F. takes 1 hour and 25 minutes, not counting your time parking etc. Cost of travel on the Shinkansen is also very reasonable, and the trains are extremely reliable. Our railroad services are woefully inadequate and grossly underfunded. Travel in Japan and Europe is modern, inexpensive and well maintained, so there is no excuse for the system here, except, that the U.S. is in the grip of the petroleum industry which promotes gas guzzling cars and trucks instead of public transport. Now we are promoting EV cars, which are more fuel efficient, but no comparison in terms of public transport availability in other modern countries.

  4. In 1937, a train left either L.A. or S.F. daily at 8:15, and arrived (usually on time too!) at 6:00 PM
    A trip of 9 hours 45 minutes. And downtown to downtown too.
    The northbound train from S.B to S.F left at 10:35.
    To learn more about how QUALITY and DEPENDABLE train service USED TO BE…and with the right will and $$$ can be once again:
    ALL ABORD!!!

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