The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the allocation of $41 million to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) to help fund up to nine low-emission Tier 4 locomotives.
"With this funding, Metrolink will be able to improve and expand our service throughout Southern California,” said Chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors Shawn Nelson, who is also an Orange County supervisor. “I appreciate the partnership Metrolink has with our state and regulatory agencies to improve air quality. Today, Metrolink removes more than 18,000 cars from freeways. With these advanced locomotives, we hope to continue to relieve traffic congestion.”
The latest source of funding comes from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), which provides grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
“We have worked diligently to leverage various funding opportunities to bring to fruition a comprehensive locomotive fleet modernization program,” Metrolink CEO Art Leahy said. “At the federal, state, and local levels, there is a clear understanding and support for Metrolink to upgrade our current fleet to provide a more enjoyable and reliable riding experience for our passengers.”
The $41 million to Metrolink was a part of more than $224 million in competitive grants awarded by CalSTA. Metrolink's allotment was tied for the most among the 14 recipients. The San Francisco MTA Light Rail Vehicle Fleet Project also received a recommended amount of $41,181,000.
Tier 4 locomotives are expected to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 85% compared to current Tier 0 locomotive engines. Metrolink is the first commuter rail system in the country to procure the new Tier 4 locomotives. Fuel efficiencies, which reduce carbon dioxide equivalents, also referred to as greenhouse gas emissions, are expected to be realized, according to transit officials.
Higher-powered engines are another feature of the procurement. The new engines will have 31% to 57% more horsepower, allowing for greater flexibility and capacity.
The total project cost for the nine Tier 4 locomotives is $58.05 million, with the remainder of the funds being provided through a combination of Metrolink member agency contributions and other subsidies. The locomotives are scheduled to be in revenue service by the end of 2017.
The Tier 4 locomotives will be in addition to the 20 Tier 4 locomotives Metrolink ordered last year. The first of the low-emission locomotives are expected to begin operating throughout the Metrolink system in late 2016.
For additional details on Metrolink, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com. For more information about the CalSTA grant recipients click here.