by Photo courtesy of SANDAG

The San Diego Association of Governments CEO Hasan Ikhrata thanked local elected leaders on Friday for securing an investment of more than $300 million for several transportation projects in the county. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the $308 billion state budget, including $14.8 billion in transportation funding aimed to improve California’s transportation network. The transportation package outlines funds for public transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects, rail and roadway grade separations, and transportation-related climate adaptation. 

One of the biggest highlights for SANDAG is a $300 million investment for the LOSSAN rail realignment project. Ikhrata said he applauds the San Diego delegation for highlighting the region’s interests.

“I could not be more grateful for Senate President Pro Tem Atkins. She always delivers, and under her leadership, we were able to ensure this year’s state budget will help make the vision in the SANDAG Regional Plan a reality. We have talked for years about moving the rail tracks off the Del Mar Bluffs, and with this funding, we can now do it,” Ikhrata said. 

According to TransNet, the LOSSAN rail corridor is the second busiest intercity rail corridor in the nation supporting commuter, intercity, and freight rail services. It stretches 351 miles from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, serving 7.6 million passengers and moving $1 billion in goods and services annually.

SANDAG and NCTD were seeking this additional funding to expedite the planning process to move the tracks inland as a long-term strategy to increase the reliability of passenger rail service.

He also thanked Sen. Ben Hueso for securing $20 million for SANDAG to pay down bond balances, which are used to “deliver projects quickly and this offers us a chance to continue to maximize our funding as much as we can to serve the people of this region.” 

The agency said other priority projects expected to benefit from the budget package are the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, Central Mobility Hub, regional bikeway projects, and grade separations.

Highlights from the state’s transportation package include the following investments:

• $7.65 billion to support high-priority transit and rail infrastructure projects statewide, including $1.83 billion for Southern California high-priority transit projects, with $300 million specifically for the LOSSAN rail corridor

• $4.2 billion to advance work on high-speed rail construction and planning

• $1.05 billion to transform active transportation networks statewide

• $350 million for high-priority grade separation projects

• $198 million for local climate adaptation projects

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