Happy trails to you: ￼ Mobility 21’s year in review
Whether you’re hitting our region’s roads, railways or bikeways this holiday season, we wish you a warm and safe holiday season.
“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported Mobility 21 this year, our transportation future depends on you,” said Mobility 21 Executive Director Marnie O’Brien Primmer. “Your voice will be even more important in the coming months to ensure transportation gets its fair share of state and federal dollars to create what Southern California needs most – jobs.”
Although 2010 may have been a less eventful year for transportation than many of us hoped, Mobility 21 has continued to carry out its mission of bringing more transportation funding to Southern California and has accomplished some key milestones:
- Passage of AB 2098, allowing the Riverside Transportation Commission (RCTC) to utilize design-build to deliver much-needed improvements on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91); this effort will put 18,000 Californians to work
- Passage of AB 1371 enabling the California Transportation Commission to grant Letter of No Prejudice authority to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) in procuring consultant services for Positive Train Control technology implementation
- Worked with federal appropriators to ensure another $75 million was included in the FY 2011 federal appropriations bill for Positive Train Control
- Advocated effectively for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act TIGER grants, resulting in funding for key Southern California projects which have put Californians to work
- Continued to educate elected leaders on the importance of investing in Southern California’s goods movement projects as a means to secure our nation’s prosperous future
- Fought for transportation funding during the State budget negotiations
- Endorsed Proposition 22, designed to protect transit funding from future raids by Sacramento
- Supported FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” initiative designed to cut through red tape and get projects built to provide congestion relief and good-paying jobs
Our work is nowhere near finished, and we need your vigilance to ensure that Congress passes and the president signs a long-term transportation authorization bill in 2011.
With your help, we can help pull California out of the economic downturn and protect the future of our great state. Together, we can be successful in bringing the investment to our region that will put our friends and neighbors to work, and provide the transportation system improvements that will enhance our quality of life and get us out of gridlock.
Fighting for more than transportation: Happy homecoming, Jennifer Franco
Over the past 11 months, Jennifer Franco has been away from her day job as government relations director for the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). A lieutenant, junior grade in the United States Navy, Franco spent most of her tour stationed in Southern Afghanistan working in the International Security Forces in Afghanistan (ISAF) Public Affairs Office coordinating with the local media – writing talking points and press releases, providing public affairs guidance to subordinate commands and conducting media events.
“Every day I woke up thinking my life was so surreal to be working and living in Southern Afghanistan and now that I’m home, it is still just as surreal to reflect back on that experience,” said Franco. “While I’ve been away, I cannot tell yo￼u enough that your thoughts, cards and care packages meant so much to me. You showered me with so much support and it kept me sane through the difficult days and definitely kept my spirits up on the good days.”
Franco’s extensive government relations experience in Southern California helped prepare her for her role in the Public Affairs Office. Through building relationships, Franco and her team members helped the local Afghan media highlight the work being done toward building a more stable nation.
E-mail Franco to thank her for her service and congratulate her on her return.
New lane on Riverside Freeway helps provide traffic relief to commuters
Excerpt from OCTA CEO’s Weekly Update
Officials from Caltrans, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) hosted a ceremony this month to mark the completion of the first of what will be several projects that will provide relief to commuters on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91), one of California’s most-gridlocked highways.
Elected officials, construction workers and community leaders came together for the event overlooking the newly completed lane that stretches for nearly six miles from Anaheim to Corona.
Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez heralded the project’s completion and its benefits by joining other transportation and elected officials on a drive on the new lane with three new Ford hybrid vehicles.
“The fact that we were able to do this in a little over 12 months is amazing,” Mendez said. “We don’t want people to be stuck in traffic. The completion of this project will allow commuters to be able to spend more time with their families and friends.”
Anne Mayer, Executive Director of RCTC and Mobility 21 Treasurer, underscored the importance of the new lane as the first step in providing greater traffic relief on the freeway.
“This is very important as it fixes a bottleneck everyone knows needed fixing,” Mayer said. “It gives people more bang for the buck because it is in a spot known for slow rush-hour traffic. Traffic slows to stop-and-go traffic where the 241 and the 91 meet and also at the 91 and the 71.”Read more.
Metrolink rolls out new safety-enhanced rail cars
During a whistle-stop tour throughout Southern California, Metrolink unveiled its new Guardian Fleet of rail cars equipped with state-of-the-art collision-absorption technology.
The new cars are manufactured by Hyundai Rotem and feature energy-absorbing retractable couplers, a crumple zone and tables designed to minimize passenger injuries if an incident were to occur.
“Here at Metrolink, we wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night with safety on our minds. We are honored to provide our employees, customers and the region some of the safest rail cars in existence,” said Metrolink CEO and Mobility 21 Advisory Board member John Fenton. “Our board’s commitment to safety is evident in their recent decision to purchase 20 more Rotem cars.”
Metrolink will continue to assemble and test more Rotem cars to gradually replace older train cars until all 137 cars in the Guardian Fleet are in operation in late 2012.
Metro and OCTA to offer free rides
To promote a safe holiday season, Metro will offer a special holiday free fare program for all Metro Bus and Metro Rail lines operating on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The free fare program will be in effect between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the nights and early mornings hours of December 24-25 and December 31-January 1.
Patrons boarding a Metro Bus, including the Metro Orange Line, or the Metro Red, Purple, Blue, Green or Gold rail lines during the hours designated will receive a free ride to their destination.
OCTA is offering customers free rides on all fixed-route buses on Friday, December 31 from 6 p.m. until Saturday, January 1 at 2:30 a.m.
Celebrating a 21-year Caltrans career
After 21 years of service with Caltrans, Federal Liaison Ken De Crescenzo is retiring at the beginning of the new year. De Crescenzo has been a tireless advocate for transportation and dedicated partner to Mobility 21.
“It has been my pleasure to serve you and to work with all of you to increase mobility for all Californians, said De Crescenzo. “I look forward to enjoying the fruits of your labor as I travel about the State.”
TRANSPORTATION EVENTS IN THE COMMUNITY
March 30 – 31
World Research Group: Green Energy Technology Conference
March 31 – April 1
IEEP: Inland Empire Quality of Life Summit