Sept. 28, 2010

IRVINE, Calif. – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature of Assembly Bill 2098 (AB 2098) and Senate Bill 1371 (SB 1371) helps reduce freeway gridlock and enhances rail safety in Southern California.

The passage of AB 2098 (Miller) allows the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) to accelerate construction on the locally-funded SR-91 Corridor Improvement Project by using the design-build project delivery method, creating approximately 18,000 jobs in one of the highest unemployed areas in California.

“The governor’s approval of AB 2098 ensures that we move forward with a project that creates thousands of jobs and improves the commute on the 91 Freeway,” said Anne Mayer, RCTC Executive Director and Mobility 21 Board Member. “Thank you to Governor Schwarzenegger for making infrastructure a priority, and we especially appreciate the support of Assemblyman Jeff Miller, the business community and California Transportation Commissioner Joe Tavaglione for their efforts in making this bill – and the jobs that it creates – possible.” Assembly Speaker Perez, Assembly Transportation Chair Bonnie Lowenthal, Assembly Transportation Vice Chair Kevin Jeffries and Senator Bill Emmerson were also instrumental in securing bi-partisan support for AB 2098.

Without the best-value design-build project delivery method, this improvement project would be delayed by three to five years, causing a lost opportunity to create thousands of jobs and putting taxpayers at risk of paying more to ease congestion on the SR-91.

SB 1371 (Correa) authorizes the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to establish a Letter of No Prejudice program for Proposition 1A, the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. In the absence of a state budget, this legislation enables the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) to move forward with a $200 million rail safety program to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) throughout the Metrolink system, which jointly operates on tracks shared with the state-funded Pacific Surfliner service. After the tragic Metrolink accident in Chatsworth, Congress adopted a federal mandate that requires the implementation of Positive Train Control by 2015.

“This important piece of legislation for Positive Train Control is a triumph for the thousands of Southern Californians who rely on our trains everyday as a means of safe transportation,” said Keith Millhouse, Metrolink Board of Directors Chair and Ventura County Transportation Commission Member. “Metrolink is dedicated to the safety of our passengers and will continue to move forward with this important rail safety project.”

“I want to thank the governor and the Legislature for the enactment of SB 1371, and the subsequent actions by the CTC, which together puts Metrolink one step closer to implementing PTC. Metrolink’s goal is to operate the safest passenger rail system in the U.S. and implement PTC years before the federal mandate,” said Richard Katz, Metrolink Board of Directors Vice Chair and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board Member. “There will be no compromise when it comes to safety at Metrolink.”