Metro, NCTC Advocacy Results in $107 Million Grant for Antelope Valley Line Upgrades
METRO, NCTC ADVOCACY RESULTS IN $107 MILLION GRANT
FOR ANTELOPE VALLEY LINE UPGRADES
Following several years of work and advocacy by the North County Transportation Coalition (NCTC) Board, on which Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean and Councilman Bob Kellar serve, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has been awarded $107 million through California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital (TIRCP) grant program for upgrades to the Antelope Valley Metrolink Line.
“It has taken many years of concentrated effort advocating for improvements to the Antelope Valley Metrolink line. One of my priorities as a Councilwoman has been to concentrate on transportation issues. It is very gratifying to see that the effort has begun to pay off. It makes sense to provide a way for people to be able to get to where they need to go, when they need to get there. Beginning this process of upgrading Metrolink along the complete Antelope Valley line, will allow faster commutes, not only during the day but adding late night trains in the future, and will provide an alternative to traveling our gridlocked freeways.”
In 2017, the Metro Board approved a motion by members Kathryn Barger and Ara Najarian, initiating a study of the Antelope Valley Line to identify improvements that would increase the frequency, safety and reliability of service for the 3.3 million people living in communities with access to the line. The City of Santa Clarita and NCTC strongly advocated for this study and, following its release, the NCTC Board allocated $12.75 million of Measure M funds to get identified projects to “shovel-ready status.” This means the projects would be funded through the environmental clearance phase.
Councilwoman McLean has been a strong proponent for expanded public transportation opportunities for Santa Clarita residents, particularly for those relying on the Antelope Valley Line for access to and from Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. In the effort to ensure these projects come to fruition, Councilwoman McLean spoke before the Metro Board on numerous occasions, as well as the Metro Planning and Programming Committee in July 2019 to advocate for the implementation of the Antelope Valley Line Study.
The NCTC Board also approved a motion in October 2019 to obligate an additional $103.6 million in Measure M funds to match Metro’s “Antelope Valley Line Study Improvements SB1 TIRCP” grant request. Doing so was a significant step in strengthening the grant application and provided the funds needed to be able to implement the improvements identified in the Antelope Valley Line Study.
These improvements include the Balboa Double Track Extension, Lancaster Terminal enhancements, a Canyon Siding Extension and work on the Brighton to McGinley Double Track. As a result of the service upgrades, commuters will have access to better and more frequent connections to Burbank Airport, Amtrak and future Metro bus rapid transit opportunities to the San Fernando Valley.
Additionally, a Zero-Emissions Multiple Unit (ZEMU) Pilot program will test new zero-emission technology on the Antelope Valley Line, leading to environmental benefits and cost savings. The ZEMU Pilot program is anticipated to begin in 2025.
The TIRCP grant funding, coupled with the local funds provided by the NCTC, will take thousands of cars off the heavily trafficked Interstate 5 and SR-14 each day.
To learn more about the Antelope Valley Line Study, please visit Metro.net.