As OCTA nears completion on emergency work to stabilize railroad tracks in San Clemente, the agency and its partners continue to push forward on finding longer-term solutions to protect the vital coastal rail line.
A plan for working with local, state and federal partners to further study and understand the issues behind the coastal erosion also calls for seeking necessary funding for lasting solutions to keep rail traffic safely moving between San Diego and Orange counties, and destinations further north.
“When we began the emergency stabilization effort, it was clear that we needed to address the immediate issues first and also to speed up the process of working with all stakeholders to find longer-term solutions,” said OCTA Chairman Gene Hernandez, also the Mayor of Yorba Linda. “I’m pleased to see this comprehensive effort moving forward.”
In addition to OCTA’s ongoing work, a new subcommittee of the California Senate Transportation Committee has been established focused on these issues. Called the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency Subcommittee, the Committee is to be chaired by Sen. Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas), and will include representation from other Orange County Senators: Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach), Sen. Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). The focus of the subcommittee will be to study the infrastructure and service along the entire 351-mile rail line between San Diego and San Luis Obispo, with a focus on ensuring its resiliency.
“We appreciate the support we’ve already seen, especially from the state, and we look forward to continuing to work together to develop long-term solutions and to keep trains running safely,” Chairman Hernandez said. “This is a critical link in Southern California’s rail network. Addressing both the current emergency situation, and planning for our rail future, are top priorities for the OCTA Board of Directors.”
OCTA’s framework for finding solutions beyond the current emergency work includes a phased approach to examine additional short- to medium-term solutions. A Phase II study would look at longer-term solutions. If Phase II funding is secured, the studies would move forward concurrently.
Meanwhile, emergency work along 700 feet of rail line in south San Clemente continues. For more information about the track stabilization project, visit here.