New mass transit could be on the way to the valley
New mass transit could be on the way to the valley.
If all goes according to plan, a new passenger rail system will be in the works.
Rail transportation to Los Angeles and other cities west of the valley could soon become more convenient and more efficient.
We don't yet know how often the trains could run, or whether new stations will be built along the existing valley tracks, but that's what we're closer to finding out.
The vote was unanimous Monday evening to move forward with the project to allocate funds for the rail system.
Robert Yates is the multi-modal service director on the project, he tells us, "First of all it passed CVAG, it will now come to the full commission for a vote for ratification so that's going to be the next step."
Excess revenue from the sale of transportation bonds will help fund the project, which could bring additional tourism to the valley and an easier way for residents to commute.
Greg Pettis of the Cathedral City City Counsel has been working on the project for a while now. He explains, "It's a tremendous opportunity both for bringing tourism here to the desert even more so then we already have but also providing an outlet for our residents to go into job centers like Riverside, Anaheim, Los Angeles. They don't feel like they have to drive all day long, all night long, and not have anytime with their families."
The rail fund would be used to conduct station development studies and provide for necessary staff and rail improvements.
The plan would progressively phase in ten percent of Coachella Valley transportation funds over the next three to four years.
But, that ten percent could mean a lot to those looking for additional bus routes in the valley.
Supervisor John Benoit told us, "Long term, everything affects the ability to provide transit. We are going to have continuing pressure for more routes, there's going to be continuing pressure for a rate increase. We haven't increased the fare box rate for a long long time."
The rail fund can be used starting a year from now, getting the Coachella Valley on the way to joining the rest of the state in its new rail system.
Benoit continues, "The question today was should we be thinking at all about rail in the future or should we push that aside and blissfully move on thinking that will never happen .We decided we're going to have to do a little planning and set aside a small piece for that potential."
Copyright 2014 Gulf California Broadcasting. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.