The California Transportation Commission (CTC) unanimously approved a $91.2 million allocation to Metrolink to advance design and work on the first projects in the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. SCORE will improve rail safety and service in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. In all, through a CTC approved multi-year grant agreement, Metrolink will receive a total of $875.7 million over six years.
The funds are provided by a Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant to kick start work on SCORE, which is a $10 billion plan to build infrastructure enabling regional passenger rail service frequency to at least 30 minutes systemwide. Other benefits of SCORE include better connections with other transit providers.
TIRCP grant funding comes from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and Senate Bill 1 to fund transformative capital improvements that will modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Metrolink currently provides 441 million passenger miles annually, while the average one-way Metrolink trip length is 35 miles. With 82% of Metrolink riders having an automobile and choosing to take the train, Metrolink directly reduces freeway congestion. Ultimately, SCORE’s goals include the addition of 35.5 million net new riders after 2028, along with the elimination of on average 62.5 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from congested Southern California highways, annually, from 2028 and beyond.
SCORE funds more frequent, reliable and faster Metrolink and Amtrak service providing an alternative to crowded freeways and helps reduce air pollution. Included in SCORE are targeted investments for capacity improvements at Los Angeles Union Station and on tracks between Los Angeles and Fullerton, one of the busiest freight corridors in the region.
“As our state’s economy and population continue to grow, adding more capacity for passenger and freight rail is a critical component in preventing a future mobility crisis, and ensuring continued prosperity to our region,” said California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who represents Fullerton. “California is a world leader in innovation and technology. As such, we should continue to invest in public modes of transportation like this, which is economically sound for our working families and students into the future.”
Other mobility benefits include safety, signal and track upgrades that enable more “Quiet Zones” where trains do not routinely sound their horns when approaching at-grade crossings.
In August, the CTC awarded an initial $6.5 million to begin design, rail operations modeling and environmental assessment on the first of the SCORE projects as part of the projected $875.7 million total.