Orange County Transpo Authority Vies to Be Regional Rail Manager

A Surfliner plies the coast on the LOSSAN corridor. Photo by Nick Chill Photography.

Now that the Governor has signed the bills to allow local stakeholders to take over management of the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin Amtrak intercity rail routes the next steps are the formation of the joint power authority boards and in the case of the Surfliner the selection of a managing agency from among the members of LOSSAN (aka the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor).

Metro has already declared it will be applying to be the managing agency. Now OCTA has an item on its agenda today (#8) from staff seeking from their Board the “Authority to Submit a Proposal to Assume the Role of Managing Agency for the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor.”

In making the case for it to be selected OCTA states:

OCTA could be well positioned to assume the role of the LOSSAN managing agency, given its ownership stake in 42 miles of 351-mile LOSSAN Rail Corridor, between Fullerton and San Clemente, as well as its extensive experience in funding and managing rail capital projects on the LOSSAN Rail Corridor. OCTA had played an integral role in advancing and building consensus around the new LOSSAN governance initiative. In addition, OCTA brings a breadth of management experience in a number of different transportation enterprises, including bus transit, freeway projects, local street and road improvements, motorist services, the 91 Express Lanes toll road, and oversight of Metrolink commuter rail operations in Orange County.

Since 2009, OCTA has filled a similar role as the provider of administrative services to the Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG), which reimburses OCTA for the shared services provided in support of OCCOG. Based on its experience with OCCOG, OCTA staff will work to develop a staffing plan and cost proposal to provide administrative services for LOSSAN, as the LOSSAN managing agency.

Nicely OCTA has an attachment to the staff report with details on LOSSAN’s process for selecting a managing agency including a draft timeline.

Should be interesting whether any other agencies step forward and decide to throw their hat in the ring.

BTW, the only media coverage I have found of this process is a recent brief article on the San Joaquin bill that appeared in The Riverbank News brought to my attention by local rail/transit enthusiast Ken Ruben. Other than that all there has been is the pick-up of my coverage of Metro’s plans to apply to be managing agency by The Source. And rest assured we will continue coverage of this process as it proceeds.

  • PaulCJr

    It might be better for the MTA to let OCTA manage the lines. I think the MTA always has enough on its plate. Maybe I’m wrong. 

  • calwatch

    OCTA’s ace in the hole will be its experience on LOSSAN corridor projects, specifically the additional tracks and signaling improvements needed for Metrolink to Midnight. MTA has not had experience with managing freight rail projects – light rail is a completely different animal since there are no railroad companies to deal with.

  • Steppetactics

    You are both wrong. OCTA sole function in Earth is to kill actual public transit, wherever it is. Letting Orange County run rail, is like letting a wolf guard the sheep.

  • Wqjackson

    How about Metrolink taking the lead? Metrolink already works with a number of other transportation agencies and share the rail lines with Amtrak

  • As I noted in my original in-depth post there is a provision in the bill evidently intended to block Metrolink from being eligible. We from the outside are only dimly aware of all the dynamics, past history etc. shaping this process.

  • Nathanael

    Guh.  No way.  OCTA’s been a disaster for public transportation, despite doing a little work on Metrolink.    I’d rather give this to San Diego MTS, though I guess they haven’t applied yet.  I suppose NCTD might apply too.   But really, LA Metro is probably the best choice (and they have planned and managed some really difficult Metrolink/BNSF work from Fullerton to LA Union, not to mention the work north of LA Union).


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