Southern California can expect an economic boost of 1.3 million jobs and an increase to the gross regional product of almost $684 billion through 2050 as the result of Metrolink’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program, according to a new Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) study. LAEDC presented the findings at a meeting of the Metrolink Board of Directors.
SCORE is a 10-year, $10 billion capital improvement program to upgrade regional rail infrastructure to better and more safely serve Southern California residents in the future while improving commute times and air quality in advance of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games. Improvements include track additions and enhancements to stations, signals, and grade crossings that will bolster safety and enable more frequent, bi-directional service throughout the day.
SCORE also accelerates progress toward Metrolink’s zero-emissions future and provides safety upgrades that will allow some cities to apply for Quiet Zones. Quiet Zones are designated stretches of track where safety enhancements have been made to grade crossings so that the routine sounding of train horns is not required.
The State of California was the first funding partner for the SCORE program and Metrolink has secured $1.8 billion in funding to deliver preliminary designs and environmental studies for critical projects.
The study predicts that SCORE will create more than 1.3 million jobs through 2050, while the nine-year construction period alone will account for at least 110,000 jobs, paying an average of nearly $64,000 annually.
The LAEDC study also forecasted SCORE will increase wages by $185 billion over three decades and boost the region’s economic output by more than $1 trillion.
Metrolink commissioned the LAEDC to assess the impact of construction investment for SCORE and associated effects from forecasted changes in travel, regional labor accessibility, and reduced transportation costs from saved time.
The study indicates that SCORE benefits disadvantaged communities by connecting residents to the rail network, capable of quickly moving them through the five-county region enabling service at least every 30 minutes on all lines throughout the day when demand and funding exist.
SCORE’s environmental benefits include a reduction of 3.4 billion vehicle miles traveled between 2023 and 2078 and an elimination of 515.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the same period. Additionally, the LAEDC projects SCORE will add 2.3 million pedestrian trips and 1.3 million bicycle trips each year.