Resurgent Rail and Transit Funding in Southern California Sets Stage for Los Angeles Union Station’s Next 80 Years


District: Headquarters
Contact: Kyle Simerly
Phone:(916) 654-5485

SACRAMENTO — Los Angeles Union Station turns 80 years old this weekend, and Caltrans is celebrating the station's history as the premier rail hub for Southern California. The State is investing more than $4.4 billion in Southern California regional rail, transit and freight mobility projects around the Southern California region, many of them helping to propel movement in and around Union Station.

"The story of Union Station as a major transportation hub for 75,000 people a day is even more exciting as we look toward the future and build for tomorrow. As a state, we're proud to recognize the historic past of this station and proudly work with our partners as we build for the future."

Laurie Berman, Director, Caltrans

Some of this historic investment is thanks to the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, more commonly referred to as SB 1. This landmark transportation infrastructure bill invests $5 billion per year toward transportation infrastructure including more than $1 billion for rail, transit and freight movement.

  • The Link Union Station (Link US) infrastructure project was awarded nearly $400 million through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) to improve both intercity and regional services by creating new run-through tracks, which allow for trains to enter and exit Union Station without the need to turn around as is currently required.
  • With Los Angeles set to host its third Olympic Games in 2028, this project will be a key component in increasing rail capacity, directly benefitting many transit services, including LA Metro services, Metrolink commuter trains, Amtrak regional and intercity trains, Amtrak's long-distance trains, and will facilitate the delivery of future High-Speed Rail service at Union Station.
  • The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) awarded $330.2 million in 2018 to the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (LA Metro) for their Transit Integration and Modernization Program.
  • CalSTA allocated a total of $188.3 million to Los Angeles - San Diego - San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency for projects to create higher frequency services, and to improve travel times, reliability and safety on the corridor.
  • LA Metro also won approval of $27.8 million to help improve operations centers for both their bus and transit operations.

Estimates show that the collective $4.4 billion in investments by the state will leverage approximately $16.8 billion in regional mobility improvements. Partners in this multilateral work include LA Metro, The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA / Metrolink), LOSSAN, Santa Bernardino County Transportation Authority, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and many others.

Caltrans works with the rail industry to coordinate both passenger rail and freight hauler schedules to keep the trains running on time. The passenger rail investments at and connected to Union Station will provide benefits for moving rail freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and help reduce trucking congestion on highways across Southern California.

Integrating a fast, convenient and regular rail network with transit and urban rail systems at Union Station will provide real alternatives to Los Angeles traffic congestion and directly benefit freight movement by reducing roadway congestion and providing quicker and more reliable service for freight trains carrying cargo on shared rail.

The 2018 California State Rail Plan aims to boost the economy, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve safety statewide over the next 20 years. By 2040, the plan envisions leveraging more, faster, efficient and modern rail choices for Californians to help increase passenger rail travel by 92 million passenger miles per day, help the state reach its GHG emission reduction targets, and potentially eliminate 250 fatalities and 19,000 transportation related injuries per year.