Agency explores commuter train from Auburn to Dixon |

Agency explores commuter train from Auburn to Dixon

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A commuter train may connect Auburn to Dixon by the end of 2005.

A new, four-county agency tentatively calling itself “Regional Rail” will allocate $200,000 Monday to study the launch of a new commuter train service on existing Union Pacific train tracks that run alongside Interstate 80.

“We really want it to happen,” said Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency. “The stage we’re at right now, we’ve looked at this very preliminarily and we think we can do this.”

Initially, trains would make six trips a day, McAdam said: three trips during the morning commute and three during the evening commute.

It’s too early to say what fares might be, she said, but they should be lower than fares for the existing Amtrak “Capitol Corridor” commuter train that runs once a day between Auburn and San Jose. It now costs $8 to take the Amtrak train from Auburn to Sacramento.

Officials studying the commuter train service think there’s a demand for it.

“Get out and look at Interstate 80,” McAdam said. “As people are (getting) frustrated with sitting in traffic, you’ve got to provide them an alternative.”

Launching the train service could cost $26 million, McAdam said.

Costs would include leasing or buying locomotives, and paying for improvements to the UP tracks that also carry freight trains.

For comparison’s sake, $26 million is about what it will cost to improve the interchange at I-80 and Sierra College Boulevard, McAdam said.

Funding could come from a variety of sources, including federal and state transportation monies, local sales taxes and transportation mitigation fees charged by counties for new development.

In addition to Placer County, other counties involved are Yolo, Solano and Sacramento.

“Our four counties have gotten together for this,” McAdam said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm.”

At the most recent meeting of the Regional Rail steering committee, members were saying, “We need this faster. How do we get this going?” McAdam said.

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