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The LOSSAN North Corridor Improvement Project announced plans to enhance the railway running from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo during a meeting yesterday.
The proposal lists a total of 99 projects including softening certain curves, modernizing signal systems and renovating stations to expedite train travel for growing demands. The cost of the proposed projects is approximately 500 million dollars.
The North Corridor Improvement Project is now in the process of completing preliminary research in hopes of garnering a federal grant from the Obama Administration’s stimulus package.
According to Lara Bertina, environmental generalist for CalTrans, the conference is the first of several procedures for the plan.
“These are the very first steps of the project,” Bertina said. “All we are looking to do today is present our 99 proposals for the corridor and take onboard feedback from various authorities, to help us ultimately shape the best plan possible for the region to be most competitive for the grant money.”
During the conference, Lea Simpson of the Capital Projects and Operations for CalTrans said the updates are of great important to the coastal corridor.
“Amtrak is subsidized by the Californian Government but, for the first time since this century-old railroad was built, we have the chance to gain federal grants to improve it and that’s a fantastic opportunity,” Simpson said.
Despite the current financial constraints on the state and federal budgets, Joe Valdez — member of the Capital Projects and Operations for CalTrans — said the various projects are likely to qualify for outside funding through grants.
“Every time we have presented a project at the state level, we have had great feedback and generally obtain most or all of the funding we need,” Valdez said. “At this point, it is still very early to predict, we are in the very first stages of this process, but it is an exciting prospect and I am confident we will get the grant.”
The final program will be presented by late 2012 or early 2013. If it acquires enough federal funding, construction and renovations are expected to begin in 2013 with the final completion date set for 2030.