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Passenger Rail vs. Transportation Corridor without Rail
The recently published Passenger Rail Feasibility Study Draft Re...
 
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
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Passenger Rail vs. Multi-Modal Transportation Corridor

Comparison of Passenger Rail and Multi-Modal Transportation Corridor in Santa Cruz County.

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Passenger Rail vs. Multi-Modal Transportation Corridor

  1. 1.   Passenger Rail vs. Transportation Corridor without Rail The recently published Passenger Rail Feasibility Study Draft Report considers the viability of passenger rail for Santa Cruz County. This is an important regional project that merits close scrutiny to ensure the publicly-owned transportation corridor right-of-way is being put to its highest and best use to serve the community. Here is an alternative vision of using the corridor as a multi-modal transportation corridor without rail. ATTRIBUTE PASSENGER RAIL1 TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR WITHOUT RAIL GOAL 12 : Provide a convenient, competitive and accessible travel option Rail ridership max forecast/Ride Your Bike To Work 5,500 per day3 7,000 per day4 Probable ridership/probable bicyclist trips 2,700 per day5 3,500 per day6 “Last mile” (e.g. stations too far from home, business) 7 +20-30 minutes8 No issue Ticket cost $5.00 roundtrip Free Probable timeframe to complete ~20 years9 ~8 years10 GOAL 2: Enhance communities and the environment, support economic vitality Ease traffic congestion: projected number of cars removed from Highway 111 TBD TBD Diesel locomotives12 , 60 trains p/day13 : train horns at 40 grade crossings14 and increased freight usage15 Increased noise, pollution, traffic None 2,400 grade crossings p/day (60 trains x 40 grade crossings) Yes No Parking accommodations Not budgeted, will impact costs, local neighborhoods Limited Public safety: High costs to implement adequate safety measures along the railway Yes No Impact to residential property values along railway Detrimental Improved16 Eco-tourism, enhanced economic development Few examples Many examples17 Recreational asset / healthy lifestyle Limited Excellent Takes advantage of new technologies Limited18 Robust19 GOAL 3: Develop a rail system that is cost effective and financially feasible Capital Costs $176M20 $68M21 Annual Operating & Maintenance (30 yrs) $420M22 ($14M per year) $10M23 ($320K per year) Unbudgeted costs24 $ Tens of Millions Minimal Funding risks25 Many Limited Santa Cruz has the money to build it No26 Yes27
  2. 2.                                                                                                                             1  Sources:  Statistics  and  costs  (including  both  capital  and  O&M  costs)  in  this  column  include   Passenger  Rail  according  to  Scenario  G1  in  Passenger  Rail  Feasibility  Study  (PRFS),  May  2015   2  Goals  stated  here  are  from  the  PRFS   3  See  Scenario  G  and  G1  in  PRFS  p.98   4 Source:  “State  of  Cycling”  Santa  Cruz  County  2015  data  of  7,000  participants  in  last  3  years   Bike  to  Work/School  Days     5 Based  on  analysis  of  comparable  rail  project  –  San  Diego  County’s  SPRINTER  –  actual  ridership   is  7,800  vs.  initial  feasibility  forecasted  ridership  of  16,000;  Sources:   http://web1.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/articlefiles/North_County_SPRINTER.pdf    and     http://www.gonctd.com/wp-­‐content/uploads/2013/08/012313-­‐SPRINTERFactSheet.pdf.  It  is   also  worth  noting  that  North  San  Diego  County  has  almost  4x  the  population  of  Santa  Cruz   County  (U.S.  Census  Bureau).   6  Data  from  other  cities  shows  that  when  a  safe  alternative  for  bikes  is  provided,  usage  spikes.   In  Minneapolis,  MN  bicyclists  increased  81%  on  protected  bike  lanes.  Source   http://www.planetizen.com/node/73269.  Bicycling  is  a  popular  workstyle  in  Santa  Cruz  which   as  the  2nd  highest  rate  of  bike-­‐to-­‐work  trips  in  the  state;  RTC  2014  bike  ridership  count  for   Santa  Cruz  County  was  2,503  (one-­‐time  annual  count).   7  Most  mass  transit  fails  due  to  what  urban  planners  call  the  first-­‐  and  last-­‐mile  problem.  You'd   like  to  commute  on  public  transit,  but  it's  unlikely  that  you  live  or  work  close  enough  to  a   station  to  walk.  So  even  if  public  transit  is  available,  commuters  often  stay  in  their  cars  because   the  alternative-­‐the  hassle  of  driving,  then  riding,  then  getting  to  your  final  destination-­‐is   inconvenient,  or  too  time  consuming.  Source:  http://magazine.good.is/articles/convenience-­‐is-­‐ king     8   http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/sustainability/images/path_design_guidelines_draft _november_2013.pdf     9  Proposition  116  funds  used  to  buy  the  current  rail  ROW  were  granted  in  1990.  22  years  later   (2012)  the  rail  ROW  was  purchased  from  Union  Pacific  and  now  3  years  later  (2015)  we  have   the  first  Passenger  Rail  Feasibility  Study.  With  very  little  of  the  $176M  capital  cost  needed  to   build  the  passenger  rail  budgeted  or  readily  available,  many  years  of  design  and  engineering   work  ahead,  plus  environmental  review,  many  regulatory  issues  (PUC,  STB,  Coastal   Commission,  etc.),  potential  lawsuits,  24  bridges  in  need  of  repair,  and  an  RTC  with  no   experience  building  or  operating  a  passenger  rail  service,  one  quickly  gets  to  the  20  year   estimate  noted  here.  As  an  example,  San  Diego  did  their  Feasibility  Study  for  the  SPRINTER   passenger  rail  project  in  1990  and  the  first  train  ran  in  2008.       10  Since  the  Monterey  Bay  Sanctuary  Scenic  Trail  Master  Plan  was  published  in  November  2013   –  less  than  2  years  ago  –  already  approximately  8  miles  or  25%  of  the  trail  is  funded  with   construction  moving  forward  on  several  segments.     11  It  is  incumbent  on  the  Santa  Cruz  County  RTC  to  survey  actual  commuters  on  Hwy  1  to   understand  who  they  are  and  what  their  needs  are,  and  whether  passenger  rail  or  bike  would  
  3. 3.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       be  viable  alternatives  for  them  (e.g.  contractors,  landscapers,  and  others  who  depend  on  their   truck  to  carry  equipment  are  not  likely  to  take  the  train  or  bike).   12  See  pg.  26  and  pg.  94  of  PRFS   13  See  pg.  98  of  PRFS   14  Under  the  Train  Horn  Rule    (49  CFR  Part  222),  locomotive  engineers  must  begin  to  sound   train  horns  at  least  15  seconds,  and  no  more  than  20  seconds,  in  advance  of  all  40  public  grade   crossings  (p.79  of  PRFS).  Source:  https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0104     15  Statement  by  Iowa  Pacific,  the  current  rail  operator,  that  they  are  “actively  looking  for  new   freight  customers”.  Source:  6/4/15  RTC  meeting   16  Source:  Analysis  of  Economic  and  Social  Impact  of  Trail  Development,  Johnson  City,  TN  Rail   Trail  Report,  Chapter  6:  “Dedicated  multi-­‐use  trails  provide  communities  with  a  valuable   amenity  that  translates  into  increased  housing  values.  According  to  the  National  Association  of   Homebuilders,  trails  are  consistently  ranked  one  of  the  most  important  community  amenities   by  prospective  homebuyers,  above  golf  courses,  parks,  security,  and  others.”  See   www.nahb.com.  Another  study  of  over  90,000  U.S.  home  sales  found  that  improved  walking   conditions  correlated  with  higher  housing  prices  in  13  of  the  15  housing  markets  studied,   controlling  for  other  factors  that  influence  housing  value.  The  results  showed  that  houses  in   walkable  neighborhoods  have  property  values  $4,000  to  $34,000  higher  than  houses  in  areas   with  average  walkability.  Source:  Cortright,  J.  (2009).  Walking  the  Walk:  How  walkability  raises   housing  values  in  U.S.  cities.   17  Source:  www.railstotrails.org,  “From  Trail  Towns  to  Trail-­‐Oriented  Development  (TrOD):   Trails  and  Economic  Development”   18  The  train  is  essentially  19th  century  technology  dressed  up  with  more  modern  (but  still  noisy   and  polluting)  diesel  engines.  There  are  40  grade  crossings  which  will  need  to  accommodate  60   trains  per  day  (see  p.ix  of  PRFS),  which  will  further  stall  already  badly  clogged  auxiliary  roads.   19  A  multi-­‐modal  transportation  corridor  can  take  advantage  of  new  and  emerging   technologies:    electric  bicycles,  new  battery  technologies,  solar  powered  bike  paths,  electric   powered  jitneys,  etc.  These  technologies  in  combination  with  new  emerging  transportation   technologies  (digitized  smart  buses,  electronic  carpooling,  transportation  services  like  Uber  and   Lyft,  and  even  electric  and  clean  gas  driverless  cars  where  passengers  can  spend  time  on  non-­‐ driving  activities)  could  optimize  Highway  1  and  auxiliary  roads  and  reduce  traffic  congestion.   See  http://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/29/dutch-­‐solar-­‐bike-­‐path-­‐pleases-­‐many/     20  Scenario  G1  capital  &  construction  costs  $176M  (see  p.  x  of  PRFS).  It  should  be  noted  that  rail   transit  projects  typically  cost  about  40  to  50  percent  more  than  projected,  with  some  projects   costing  double  the  original  projections  and  very  few  costing  less  than  20  percent  more  than  the   projections.  Source:  Dept  of  Transportation  reports  summarized  on   http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=10036     21  Source:  Monterey  Bay  Sanctuary  Scenic  Trail  (MBSST)  according  to  the  MBSST  Network   Master  Plan,  February  2014;  estimates  are  based  on  total  costs  minus  rail  infrastructure  not   needed  for  a  trail  only  implementation.   22  Source:  p.x  of  PRFS  for  Scenario  G1  
  4. 4.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       23  Source:  p.  7-­‐16  of  MBSST  Master  Plan  “The  estimated  annual  cost  for  maintenance  of  the   MBSST  Network  as  described  in  Table  7.1  will  be  approximately  $6,000-­‐$10,000  per  mile  per   year.”  Max:  $320,000  per  year   24  Costs  for  auto  parking  infrastructure,  to  acquire  adjacent  properties/easements  along   railway  to  allow  for  width  accommodation  in  narrow  areas,  and  to  implement  “Quiet  Zones”   are  not  included  in  the  Study  or  the  above  costs.  Nor  is  inflation.   25  Sources  of  funding  for  capital  and  O&M  costs  are  tenuous,  may  be  unreliable  (e.g.  state  and   federal  grants).  See  p.xi  of  PRFS.  Rail  project  implementation  predicated  on  successful  passage   of  1/2  cent  County-­‐wide  sales  tax  measure  in  November  2016.    However,  of  approximately   $15M  -­‐  $17M  per  year  to  be  generated  IF  the  1/2  cent  sales  tax  measure  is  passed,  current   projections  show  $86M  over  30  years  being  available  for  rail  subsidies,  which  is  approximately   $3M  per  year,  well  short  of  the  needed  subsidy  of  $12M  per  year  (which  is  the  $14M  annual   O&M  cost  minus  15%  in  revenues,  aka  “farebox  recovery  rate”  expected  from  ticket  sales).  For   more  on  farebox  recovery  rates  see  pgs  111-­‐112  of  PRFS.   26  Most  capital  costs  are  projected  to  be  sourced  from  federal  and  state  grants.  Only  25%  of  the   annual  Operating  and  Maintenance  costs  (at  best)  are  funded,  and  that  is  ONLY  IF  the  1/2  cent   sales  tax  is  passed  in  2016.    If  more  of  those  funds  are  used  to  subsidize  rail,  it  will  crowd  out   funds  expected  to  be  available  for  road  maintenance,  pedestrian  improvements,  buses,  bike   paths,  senior  transportation  and  other  public  transportation  priorities.       27  Approximately  8  miles  of  the  32  mile  trail  already  have  funds  available  or  committed,  and   are  on  a  timeline  to  be  built  in  the  next  2  -­‐  3  years.  There  are  also  public,  non-­‐profit  and  private   donors  that  have  indicated  interest  in  the  project.  The  amount  to  be  raised  is  manageable   given  the  funding  already  sourced  and  the  indications  of  interest  from  multiple  parties  and   sectors.   28  When  combining  the  current  estimated  capital  costs  with  the  30  years  of  operation  and   maintenance  costs,  this  is  the  percentage  that  a  transportation  corridor  without  rail  would  cost   vs.  implementing  passenger  rail.    

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