KING CITY — More than $1.5 million in state funding has been approved for pre-construction activities related to a passenger rail platform in King City.
The City of King was notified March 6 that its grant application received approval for the proposed platform, which would bring the existing Coast Starlight train service to King City and allow access to Fort Hunter Liggett and Pinnacles National Park.
“The City has been working for several years on plans for a multimodal transportation center, and this funding will be a tremendous step in making that goal a reality,” said Mayor Mike LeBarre in a news release.
The grant will provide funding for the design of the platform; services needed to pursue approval from Union Pacific on the required right-of-way, permits and a new crossing at Broadway Street; and other related pre-construction activities.
According to City Manager Steve Adams, the goal of improving passenger rail service in the area is to “help alleviate traffic congestion on Highway 101 and make the Central Coast more accessible for commuters, tourists and residents.” He estimates the project completion time will be three to five years.
“It will still be a multi-year project because there is a lot of work to be accomplished before construction can begin, but this is a big step,” Adams told the Rustler.
King City’s train station was one of nine projects throughout the state to advance after the California State Transportation Agency approved $13.1 million in funding from the State Rail Assistance Program, created by Senate Bill 1 to improve commuter rail service, reduce air pollution and ease traffic congestion in the state.
A total of $2.2 million was awarded to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments for the King City project and the Coast Rail Corridor Service Implementation Plan, which includes developing a strategy for implementing the 2018 State Rail Plan and integrating rail and bus services through the Central Coast between Santa Clara and Ventura counties.
The funds will be used by the Coast Rail Coordinating Council and its member agencies, including the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), to complete the plan as well as the pre-construction activities for King City’s new intercity rail platform.
“This award is another example of seeing the benefits of the gas tax,” said Debbie Hale, executive director of TAMC. “Through the Coast Rail Coordinating Council, we were able to compete for this new source of transportation funding from Senate Bill 1 to make significant enhancements to our transportation networks, which ultimately, will improve our transportation choices in Monterey County.”
State Sen. Anna Caballero, 12th District, noted the significance of advancing these projects forward and their implications for Monterey County.
“Congratulations to Mayor LeBarre, King City and TAMC for their excellent work to bring passenger rail service to our county,” Caballero said in a news release. “I was happy to support this project because California needs to extend robust public transportation opportunities to rural residents. Connecting our communities to the rest of the state makes good economic sense and helps us to meet our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”