Report and commentary from the TAC meeting, Santa Barbara, 6/8/07 by Paul Dyson Including news about the new car order!
The CRCC Technical Advisory Committee met at Santa Barbara last week, led by the indefatigable Peter Rodgers of SLOCOG. Also there were Royce Gotcher and Clem Bomar of Caltrans Division of Rail, Eileen Low from Caltrans, Izzy Rodriguez of City of Soledad, Mike Powers of SBCAG, and from Santa Barbara City Council staff Rob Dayton and council member Das Williams. Also attending, from our affiliate Coastal Rail Now were RailPAC Director Dennis Story, Jan Atkins and Mark Bradley, and this writer.
Pete Rodgers distributed copies of the updated Coast Daylight brochure which outlines the project for the benefit of communities along the route.
Caltrans Rail reps reported that meetings would be held in late June with Union Pacific regarding track access issues for the Coast Daylight. It also looked as if the RTIP process and other state funds would generate about $6.8 million for expenditure in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
Clem Bomar was introduced as point man and project manager for the Coast Daylight. He reported that bids will be invited for new rolling stock, to be based on an upgraded specification of the Surfliner car, most likely in December of this year. A contract would likely then be awarded in June of 2008. I think weâ€™ll be lucky to see any new equipment before 2012 at that pace.
Pete Rodgers and Mike Powers reported on the proposal to build an ethanol plant on the SMV in Santa Maria. This would generate 2 unit trains inbound per week with return empties, plus the possibility of local tank car traffic with finished product. In my view this is good news for the Coast line as it helps justify infrastructure investment for passenger and freight.