Federal transportation officials announced today a $75 million grant for a project that will bring rail service to Moreno Valley and Perris, offering regional commuters an alternative to freeway travel.
"Bringing more good transportation options to residents in Southern California is vitally important to improving the quality of life in one of the state's most congested corridors," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
"Throughout the United States, we are investing in projects like this one that help reduce congestion on our roadways while improving access to jobs, education, medical care and other services," he said.
The multimillion-dollar allocation will cover nearly one-third of costs tied to construction of the Perris Valley Line, which has been in the works since 2007.
Work on the $247 million project is expected to begin this month. Once fully operational, the line will extend 24 miles, providing Metrolink commuter rail service along Interstate 215, from Riverside to Perris. There will be a total of four new stops -- Hunter Park in Riverside, near March Reserve Base in Moreno Valley, downtown Perris and south Perris.
The $75 million grant -- provided under the Federal Transit Administration's Small Starts Capital Investment Program -- was announced during a briefing at the Perris Transit Station. On hand were Deputy FTA Administrator Therese McMillan, Reps. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, and Ken Calvert, R-Corona, Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, Perris Mayor Daryl Busch and Riverside County Transportation Commission Chair Karen Spiegel.
"The Federal Transit Administration is proud to invest in the Metrolink extension ... which is an important part of the region's commitment to expand and modernize public transportation for hard-working families," McMillan said. "We are committed to investing in more good projects like this one, which help regional economies to grow and compete in the 21st century."
According to the RCTC, trains along the route will ferry an estimated 4,350 riders daily. reducing vehicular traffic on the often-congested 60 and 215 freeways.
The project was temporarily derailed by an environmental lawsuit filed last year, but has since gotten the green light. --City News Service