Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Therese McMillan participated in a dedication ceremony for the 91/Perris Valley Metrolink commuter rail extension from Riverside to Perris, Calif. The 24-mile extension of Metrolink service will reduce traffic congestion on Interstate-215 and significantly improve transit options for area residents who have some of the longest commutes in Southern California.
The 91/Perris Valley Line, constructed by the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), will serve the communities of Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris in a regional effort to improve connections for commuters traveling from east and south of downtown Riverside. It includes four new stations along the route at Hunter Park/UC Riverside, Moreno Valley/March Field, Downtown Perris and South Perris.
Metrolink currently serves more than 44,000 riders on weekdays, over three-quarters of whom commuted by car before adopting transit, according to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.
“The Federal Transit Administration is proud to help bring expanded Metrolink service to Perris, making it easier and more convenient for commuters to access employment in Los Angeles and activity centers in western Riverside County,” said McMillan. “This extension will make a big difference in the quality of life for residents who want an alternative to sitting in traffic, and it also lays a strong foundation for economic development along the corridor.”
FTA provided $75 million through its Capital Investment Grant Program to RCTC for the Metrolink extension to Perris Valley. FTA funding comprised approximately 30% of the project’s total cost of $248 million. The project also received approximately $63 million in other funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The remaining cost was covered by state and local sources.
Linking Southern California through projects like Metrolink will be critical for accommodating growth to the larger megaregion, which is expected to increase by 15 million new Americans over the 2010 to 2050 period. This growth will anchor the region’s increased role as a global gateway.
The Metrolink 91/Perris Valley Line is expected to open in early 2016. RCTC anticipates approximately 4,300 additional riders will use the service on an average weekday.