Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Open Board of Directors Meeting
Norton Regional Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Ginger Ontiveros, Keven Porter, Catherine Pritchett, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff and Ray Wolfe
Guests: Scott Carlson, Julie Lappin, Cid Pinedo, Arnold San Miguel, Carrie Schindler and Tim Watkins.
Announcements: 1) The luncheon for inland empire regional leaders hosted by Inland Action last week was well attended and included cordial conversation. It was a good beginning and the group will meet again to continue dialog on coordination to create a cohesive IE voice. 2) Please note that we will have an Inland Action meeting on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. There will not be a meeting on Tuesday.
M/S/P: Minutes from November 26, 2019.
John Mirau introduced Dr. Ray Wolfe, Executive Director, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA).
The SBCTA is charged with expanding the range of travel through a connected series of transportation systems; diversifying the options while enhancing economic opportunities throughout the region. Transportation planning requires the 3 C’s: convenience, cost effectiveness and connectivity to other transit options.
Dr. Wolfe updated the group on rail transportation in San Bernardino County and the Metro Line system.
Los Angeles County Metro’s Gold Line system was initially planned to extend to the transit center in the City of Montclair. Available funding however allowed them to build only up to the Pomona Station. The 3.3 mile rail extension to the Montclair Station in San Bernardino County is currently estimated at $550 million.
SBCTA is advising that San Bernardino County forego the construction of a new track and simply add additional low-emission locomotives on the existing tracks used by MetroLink between the Pomona Station and the Montclair station which is one-tenth the cost ($55m). Plans include eventually extending this into Upland and then to Rancho Cucamonga.
New technology has produced train engines that are cleaner, quieter, cheaper to operate and can use existing infrastructure. In 2017 SBCTA ordered three diesel electric multiple units (DMU) from Stadler, an international rail vehicle construction company. These DMU’s are intended to go into service for the future Arrow Passenger Rail Service, scheduled to run between Redlands and San Bernardino, connecting to the entire Metrolink system at the San Bernardino Transit Center. The highly anticipated Zero-Emission Modular Unit (ZEMU) hydrogen train available in 2024 will be introduced as part of the Redlands Rail Project. Equipment upgrade options with newer technology are critical in our area, which has the worst air quality in the state.
Even though the SBCTA has presented a cost effective, practical and flexible option to all parties involved there is good deal of push back from L.A. County and in the media. Building for today and the next 20 years is important, as is planning beyond that into the future. However, building now for beyond 20 years is not prudent or effective. Speculation of the needs that far out is unwise. Changes in population density and technology will occur but we should not invest so early with many unknowns.
SBCTA is prioritizing what makes sense for San Bernardino County residents. The benefit compared to the costs, as this project stands, does not make sense. They would appreciate and encourage advocacy on local, state, and federal levels.
Access to Ontario Airport is a priority for SBCTA and numerous options were discussed.
- Deer Creek Channel-Costly at $1B
- San Bernardino-Riverside Line Connector-Practical with existing rail but has heavy traffic
- The “Frito Lay” Line- Good option as there is existing right of way.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned 8:34 a.m.