The Race Is On For Rail Funding

The Fed's passenger rail stimulus program kicked opened its doors on Monday, and states were ready with a slew of funding requests. California submitted 42 applications, totaling $1.1 billion.

"Federal Railroad Administration grants will be awarded beginning in late September or early October, said FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo.

One factor that could influence the FRA's decisions is how much money the states themselves are willing to contribute."

Mr. Szabo also explains that this is just the beginning, and that the administration 'intends to transform the way Americans travel."

Full Story: States Seek Slice of Rail Funding



Rail Travel

California puts all its eggs in the bullet train. The Bay Area and the rest of California will still be unable to reach Tahoe. You cannot carry skies or bicycles on the train as the rules presently read, because there is no baggage handler at Truckee, the Tahoe stop. Northern California's premiere destination will remain unattainable while Caltrans continues to "upgrade" the freeways, but provide no alternative to individual motor transportation. What is the problem?

No or little money spent maintaining or upgrading tracks laid in the 1800's by laborers. It was a miraculous feat, but it was a long time ago. We now have massive bulldozers that plow down the hills and bridge the gaps that would have been unthinkable when they built the rail. We could possible use some of the freeway roadbed expansions for new shorter routes to rail destinations.

No new rail, winding, slow track, maximize freight use and perhaps a boondoggle by freight MBAs deciding to sell off rail for a quick buck. Will I ever be free of tire chains and long interminable lines of GHG spewing cars to reach the pristine Sierra mountains.

I continue to suggest that the Capitol Corridor Train between San Jose and Sacramento be extended once each day to Truckee or Reno round trip. I think I am yelling in a vacuum.

Ron B

Railvolution In Tahoe

Dear Ron:

California needs to start working on a permanent 2 train per day passenger rail link between Reno and San Francisco. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent right now upgrading the freeway link, the first full upgrade since the 1960's. But the rail link is still much as it was in the 1930's. Passenger rail between the two cities, linking the Bay to Reno and stopping in Sac, Roseville, Auburn, Colfax, Donner Summit and Truckee, would take thousands of trips per day off the busiest transcontinental road link in the country (I-80), and substantially reduce carbon emissions.

You are not in a vacuum. Our organization wants to lead an effort to get passenger rail to the North Lake Tahoe region.

Drop me a line at

Steve Frisch
Sierra Business Council

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