SacRT Receives Funding to Modernize Transit System

April 19, 2021 RT News

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) was awarded more than $33 million in project funding for SacRT projects from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). SACOG’s Regional Funding Round awards transportation funding to road, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs across six counties in the metro Sacramento region.

The project funding for SacRT includes:

  • $22 million to accelerate the Light Rail Modernization Project
  • $5 million to support CNG tank and bus replacements
  • $4.5 million to further Sacramento Valley Station Loop Stations Project
  • $1.6 million to complete the funding needed to reimagine the Watt/I-80 Station

Over the past year, SacRT has received more than $72.5 million from state and local funding to progress the Light Rail Modernization Project and with leveraged federal funding available, SacRT plans to transition to an entirely new low-floor light rail fleet. The $22 million awarded for this project will go towards the purchase of 16 additional new low-floor light rail vehicles. SacRT executed a contract for the first 20 low-floor light rail vehicles in April 2020.

“SacRT’s light rail system is the backbone of our region’s mobility network and moves thousands of riders every day, which reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “This forward thinking investment into the modernization of our transit system by SACOG shows their tremendous confidence in SacRT’s ability to help the Sacramento region progress the mobility needs of a growing economy and rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“SACOG’s 2021 Regional Funding Round actions have underscored investment in improving connectivity in the region, which are critical for attaining inclusion and climate goals,“ said SacRT Board Vice Chair, SACOG Board Member and Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. “The funding awarded to SacRT will accelerate its Light Rail Modernization project, equitably improving accessibility for passengers with disabilities, bicycles, strollers and other mobility devices.”

“SACOG is proud to be able to help SacRT modernize its aging fleet of light rail vehicles through both this funding round and a commitment for future funding,” said James Corless, Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. “Helping SacRT deliver improved connectivity for its communities is a key step in lowering emissions from transportation throughout the Sacramento region, and this fleet update project will improve the region’s transit infrastructure for the benefit of the whole region.”

Light Rail Modernization
SacRT’s Light Rail Modernization Project includes adding passing track at Folsom area stations, which will allow light rail trains to operate every 15 minutes between the Sunrise Station and the end of the line at the Historic Folsom Station. The project also includes low-floor light rail station conversions and the purchase of new low-floor light rail vehicles. SacRT executed a contract with Siemens Mobility, Inc. for 20 new low-floor light rail vehicles, with the first ones ready for revenue service by spring 2023. The new light rail vehicles are being built in the south Sacramento Siemens facility keeping jobs in the region. The low-floor design will offer a safer, more accessible and more reliable transportation option especially for individuals with disabilities that need the use of a wheelchair or other mobility device. They will now have the option to board any light rail train car instead of just the front train car via a raised boarding platform and assistance from the operator deploying a ramp.

CNG Tank and Bus Replacement Plan
The project funding would assist SacRT in re-tanking 30, and replacing 61, of its current fleet of 2008 Orion Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. SacRT has 91 2008 Orion buses with CNG tanks expiring in 2023. To minimize the adverse effects and cost of replacing all of the Orion fleet at once, SacRT is proposing to retank a third of the vehicles and replace the other two-thirds.

Sacramento Valley Station Loop Stations Project
The Sacramento Valley Station (SVS) Loop project is a 1.55-mile improvement of SacRT’s light rail system from SVS to the 7th & Richards/Township 9 Station. Specifically, these improvements include the double tracking of the existing infrastructure on H and 7th streets, the realignment of the SVS loop from the existing east/west orientation to a north/south orientation, allowing the station to be served by both of the existing light rail lines (Gold and Green Lines); and funding toward the purchase of low-floor light rail vehicles to provide 15-minute service along the Green Line between SVS and the 7th & Richards/Township 9 stations. The SACOG funding will help to pay the pre-construction work needed for the realignment and relocation of the SVS light rail station, and a new station at Railyards Boulevard.

Watt/I-80 Station Renovation Project
This project will improve bicycle, pedestrian and bus access from the Watt Avenue Station Plazas (on the west side of Watt Avenue) to the Watt/I-80 Station. Improvement include expanding the Watt Avenue Station Plaza, including a new stairway connecting to the light rail station platform, new pedestrian lighting, removing concrete barriers, adding wayfinding signage and adding passenger amenities such as seating, shade/rain shelters and landscape buffers between the plaza and vehicular traffic. The project will also increase pedestrian amenities on the west side of Watt Avenue, including wider sidewalks, pedestrian-level lighting, landscape buffers and new security fencing along the overcrossing.