SBCAG Receives $22 Million in Rail & Transit Funding
Source: Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments received state rail & transit grant funds from the Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) [Thursday]. The California State Transportation Agency announced the awards as part of $2.4 billion in state grant funds awarded to transit and rail projects throughout California.
In partnership with the City of Goleta, SBCAG applied for $12.75 million in funding to construct a new full service train station adjacent to the existing train platform, make significant bicycle and pedestrian access improvements to enhance access to the station, and substantially expand the number of parking spaces for passengers. The project centers around the City of Goleta’s purchase of the old Direct Relief International warehouse, which allows the City to redevelop the property to create a welcoming train station for travelers to the region.
The second grant award to SBCAG is a partnership with Santa Barbara MTD, the Ventura County Transportation Commission, and Gold Coast Transit. SBCAG was awarded $9.6 million to expand Coastal Express bus service between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in support of the new commute-hour Pacific Surfliner train service that recently began operation on April 2. Four express bus trips before and after the existing commute-hour train trip will increase flexibility and options for commuters. The buses will be the first battery-operated, zero-emission regional buses in the area and will be maintained and serviced at a new regional transit facility also funded by the grant.
Marjie Kirn, SBCAG’s Executive Director, said, “This new state grant funding award will help support SBCAG’s “lane & train” strategy for congestion relief in the 101 corridor. The new rail service that began on April 2nd is proving to be very popular with commuters. Last week ridership had increased to an average of 259 passengers per day and has grown each week. This state grant award will boost funding for needed rail and transit improvements that will improve the transit & rail commute options for travel between Ventura and Santa Barbara County.”
State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson said, “This allocation will fund critical upgrades to our commuter and intercity rail service, which will help improve timeliness, efficiency, and reliability. The enhancements will ease traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments for working hard to secure the funding and thank the State Transportation Agency for recognizing the importance of this critical funding.”
California State Assemblymember Monique Limon said, “I’m very pleased the State of California recognized the critical importance of our regional efforts to ease traffic congestion in the 101 corridor between Ventura and Santa Barbara County. Every commuter we can encourage to ride the train or use transit reduces congestion for everyone. This new state grant funding helps advance our local projects and benefits travelers and local residents who depend on the 101 corridor.”
SBCAG Director Michael T. Bennett, who serves as the representative to the LOSSAN Board which operates the Pacific Surfliner train said ““The City of Goleta is so grateful for this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the existing Goleta train platform into a welcoming, first-class depot to serve rail passengers traveling to our region.”
The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), which is funded from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and proceeds from the Cap and Trade Program. More information on the funding allocations is available at the California Transportation Agency’s website.