March 8, 2022
Ms. Elissa Konove
Acting Secretary, California State Transportation Agency
915 Capitol Mall, Suite 350B
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Support from San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s TIRCP Application for the “ONTLoop” Tunnel Connecting Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station to Ontario International Airport
Dear Secretary Konove,
Inland Action offers full and enthusiastic support for the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s (SBCTA) funding application for the “ONT Loop” project, a transit access tunnel connecting the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station (Cucamonga Station) to the Ontario International Airport (ONT), through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP).
Located in the heart of the San Bernardino Valley, ONT is one of the fastest growing commercial airports in the U.S. Having already returned to pre-pandemic passenger levels of 5.6 million annual passengers (MAP), passenger volume is projected to grow to 15-30 MAP by 2040. Currently, most passengers departing from and arriving at ONT use Interstate 10 (I-10), which parallels the Metrolink San Bernardino Line from downtown Los Angeles to San Bernardino. This segment of I-10 is already the most used segment of freeway in San Bernardino County, carrying some 270,000 vehicles per day, and is unable to adequately accommodate the anticipated increase in demand that ONT’s growth will create.
The ONT Loop project takes the innovative approach of reducing congestion on I-10, and therefore air quality degradation, by tunneling to create a subsurface transit connection between the Cucamonga Station and ONT terminals. Operated and maintained by Omnitrans, the tunnel will feature a bi-directional system where passengers traveling to and from ONT will be transported in autonomous, zero-emission vehicles on an “on-demand” basis.
The Cucamonga Station is the closest to ONT on the San Bernardino Metrolinnk Line and has consistently represented one of the higher number of boardings in the Metrolink system. Merging the ONT Loop with the planned privately-funded Brightline West electrified high-speed rail connection between Las Vegas and Cucamonga Station, as well as the zero-emission West Valley Connector bus rapid transit service coming in the near future, sets the foundation for a major transportation hub in the Inland Empire.
This is a critical next step to providing the residents and travelers of our county with a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation solution while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ensuring the neighboring communities experience reduced congestion. We strongly urge your favorable consideration of SBCTA’s application for TIRCP funding.
Carole Beswick, CEO