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Posted on February 11, 2013 | 2:25 p.m.

Caltrans Seeks Public Input on Statewide Rail Plan

Source: Mark Dinger for Caltrans

Caltrans, which manages two of the nation’s busiest passenger rail lines, is asking its rapidly growing passenger base what they think about rail systems in the Golden State.

The department will host five public open houses and a statewide webinar this month to solicit input on the draft California State Rail Plan (CSRP), which will lay out a vision for freight, passenger and high-speed rail in the state. The draft plan is available on the Internet by clicking here, and comments can be submitted through March 11.

“Each year, nearly 6 million passengers ride the trains in California,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “It’s important that we find out what our citizens have to say about rail, because their input will help us build a truly connected California.”

Ridership on California trains is up 56 percent since 2002, and California has about 18 percent of all Amtrak riders.

“The Authority looks forward in working with Caltrans and our local partners to implement a statewide rail modernization plan that invests in urban, commuter, intercity, and high-speed rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs,” said Jeff Morales, CEO of California High-Speed Rail Authority.

To review the draft plan and comment, please attend any of five events listed below. If you can’t attend a meeting in person, you can participate in the online webinar.

» Sacramento — Feb. 12, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., California State Railroad Museum, Stanford Gallery

» Oakland — Feb. 14, 3 to 6 p.m., Elihu M. Harris State Office Building, Room 1

» San Diego — Feb. 19, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Caltrans District 11 San Diego Office Building, first-floor Conference Room

» Los Angeles — Feb. 20, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza

» Fresno — Feb. 21, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hugh M. Burns State Building, Assembly Room 1036

» Webinar — Feb. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., online webinar, event password: RailPlan1

The final plan (scheduled to be issued this summer) will fully integrate California’s future high-speed rail system with existing and proposed conventional rail systems. The plan will serve as a basis for federal and state investments for high-speed and intercity passenger rail in California and will also describe the existing conditions of the state’s rail systems and the economic and environmental benefits of improvements.

— Mark Dinger for Caltrans.

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