Intercity rail providers form new CIRCLE advocacy coalition

Oct. 21, 2021
The coalition consists of CCJPA, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency and SJJPA who aim to raise awareness of the state’s growing passenger rail system.
CIRCLE Coalition
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A newly formed coalition of California intercity passenger rail entities will focus its advocacy efforts on issues impacting the state’s passenger rail system. California’s Intercity Rail Corridors Linking Everyone (CIRCLE) coalition consists of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA).

“Our intercity rail corridor services are leading the way in providing more affordable and equitable access to transportation, enhancing connectivity across transportation modes and helping to reduce our state and nation’s carbon footprint,” said Stacey Mortensen, executive director, SJJPA. “We have found that we are most effective in telling our story when we act as one voice. I am looking forward to jointly enhancing our advocacy and collaboration in Washington.”

The coalition has a three-point aim: to educate federal policymakers on the unique nature of Amtrak state-supported services, raise awareness of California’s growing passenger rail system and proposed capital investments and build stronger relationships with national intercity rail stakeholders.

“During my work on the Northeast Corridor Commission, I learned firsthand the power passenger rail voices can have if they come together around shared priorities and principles,” said Robert Padgette, managing director, CCJPA. “I believe CIRCLE will help fill a gap in intercity passenger rail advocacy by ensuring that the voice of the nation’s leading state for intercity passenger rail has a seat at the table. We must do more to educate the nation about our leading and growing service corridors.”

The state has invested more than $3.2 billion in intercity passenger rail network improvements during the past four decades. California contains one of the most successful intercity passenger rail networks in the country where one out of every five pre-pandemic Amtrak riders boarded a train in California.

Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor route provides service between San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento and Auburn and is managed by the CCJPA; the Pacific Surfliner route provides service between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo and is managed by the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency; and the San Joaquins route provides service between Bakersfield, Oakland and Sacramento and is managed by the SJJPA.

These three routes carried more than 5.6 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2019 and the corridors all respectively rank in the top 10 in ridership in the nation. The LOSSAN corridor is the largest intercity rail corridor in the United States outside of the Northeast Corridor, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers annually. The three California routes are responsible for nearly 50 percent of Amtrak’s state-supported business unit revenue.

“We look forward to working together with our sister agencies to raise awareness about our growing rail corridor services and the important role our state plays in maintaining Amtrak’s state-supported services,” said Donna DeMartino, managing director, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency. “As the nation’s largest intercity rail corridor outside of the Northeast, I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that our national policies allow us to continue to provide innovative and modern passenger services and amenities to our growing ridership bases.”

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