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Intercity Rail Improvement

Intent or Criteria  Funds will be allocated by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for intercity rail improvements, of which one hundred twenty-five million dollars ($125 million) shall be used for the procurement of additional intercity railcars and locomotives.

List of Approved Projects

Closeout Reports

Guidelines : Guidelines were adopted December 13, 2007.  Click to view Guidelines (pdf)

Administrative Agency :  Calif Dept of Transportation (Caltrans)

Recipient Agency :  California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Accountability Plan :  The three-part accountability structure for this program, required by Executive Order S-02-07, will be identified in conjunction with program development activities.

1.    Front-End Accountability:

Proposition 1B Bond ("1B bond") funding includes $400 million for Intercity Rail Improvements. Front-End Accountability begins with the Department of Transportation's ("Caltrans") planning and programming process.

Caltrans uses a sequential planning and programming process to develop its intercity passenger rail capital program. This is comparable to the process Caltrans and regional agencies use to develop other capital programs. The Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP) and the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP) are two examples. Three different plans document the planning and programming process. They are the Corridor Strategic Business Plans, the 10-year "California State Rail Plan", and individual constrained capital programs, such as the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) or the Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP).

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved "Guidelines for Intercity Passenger Rail Projects in the Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement Account." The guidelines specify criteria for Proposition 1B project development as follows.

  • Documents an immediate and clear positive impact to rail service, such as relieving potentially hazardous conditions, preserving existing capital improvements, and addressing passenger demand (for example, extra coaches may ease overcrowding at peak periods.)
  • Maximizes potential ridership and revenue gains and provide geographic equity among the three intercity rail corridors: the Pacific Surfliner, the San Joaquin and the Capitol Corridor.
  • Recognizes high-priority, high-cost project that would be difficult to fund through the regular STIP process.
  • Maximizes efficiencies gained by grouping projects together. (For example, instead of funding a single siding, would funding multiple sidings achieve double track stretches?)
  • Considers the current status of funding for ongoing and programmed intercity passenger rail capital projects. This includes the status of STIP funding and any changes in availability of state funds resulting from changes in law or anticipated revenue flows, etc.
  • Maximizes joint benefits for commuter and freight partners.
  • Funds for intercity passenger rail projects are severely limited. Therefore, serious consideration is also given to projects that leverage funds from another source. (For example, a locally-sponsored station project may include funding from non-state sources.)

    2.     In-Progress Accountability:

    In-Progress Accountability requires Caltrans to report semi-annually to the Department of Finance on the status of project scope, cost, and schedule. Progress is monitored closely during all phases of a project. Schedule and budget elements of each project are reported by Caltrans on a regular basis to project stakeholders. Changes are documented and approvals are obtained in order to continue the work.

    The bond accountability website has a list of projects included in the program, including cost and schedule information for each project.

    Transportation projects are typically planned and managed across four distinctive components, or phases, to facilitate decision-making and approval processes. The phases are: "Environmental", "Design" or "Plans, Specifications and Estimates Phase" ("PS&E"), "Right of Way", and "Construction".

    The Environmental Phase concludes with the preparation and approval of the project report and environmental document. Together, the project report and the environmental document provide a record of the decision-making process regarding a project. They address the project's ultimate scope, schedule, and cost. The project report contains information about the project's background, need, purpose, alternatives investigated, and all issues encountered in the engineering and environmental investigations. The environmental document identifies the range of alternatives that were considered. The document states why certain alternatives were unreasonable. It discusses significant adverse effects and the measures needed to limit the adverse effects of each reasonable alternative.

    The PS&E Phase involves the development of final engineering documents and final cost estimates. These documents contain construction details, contract provisions, permits, agreements and certifications required to advertise, award and administer a construction contract. The PS&E Phase concludes with a bid package that contains construction plans, specifications and the estimate (PS&E) of the project's construction cost.

    Concurrent with the preparation of the PS&E, necessary permits and right of way access rights are being obtained. Property rights are studied for sufficiency and property is acquired if needed. Utility conflicts are identified and resolved, and clearance and demolition work are addressed. At the end of the Right of Way phase, a written statement summarizing the status of each right-of-way related matter is prepared. Construction cannot begin until all Right of Way issues are resolved.

    The construction bid package is then advertised to prospective contractors to solicit bid proposals. Contractor bid proposals are opening in a public, open setting. The contract is awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Contract award and approval authorizes construction of a project (Construction Phase). The contractor's bid amount and proposed number of working days become the critical elements of the project's cost and schedule for the construction phase. If changes are required, the project team prepares engineering details and calculations, and agreements are negotiated with the contractor to implement needed changes.

    The Construction phase has two parts. "Active Construction" is the actual building of the project. It lasts until the project is put into operation. "Closeout" is the second part of the Construction phase and lasts for six months. During this six-month period, the performance of the completed project is tested. During Closeout, outstanding contractor claims are initiated and resolved. A project history file is assembled. The project's as-built plans are completed. The project is considered complete. The contract is accepted at the end of the Closeout period.

    3.     Follow-Up Accountability:

    Follow-Up Accountability ("Audit") occurs during the six-month Closeout part of the Construction phase. Caltrans shall produce and send a final delivery report to the CTC. This report documents whether the funding, final scope, cost, and schedule were achieved. It also documents lessons learned and best practices for use in developing future projects. The CTC shall forward this report to the Department of Finance as required by Government Code Section 8879.50. A final audit report is expected within 12 months after the final delivery report. The CTC may also require interim audits at any time during the course of the project.

    Audits will be performed in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards promulgated by the United States Government Accountability Office. Audits will provide a finding on the following:

  • Whether project costs incurred and reimbursed are in compliance with the executed project funding agreement and any approved amendments, state and federal laws and regulations; contract provisions; and Commission guidelines; and
  • Whether project deliverables (outputs) and outcomes are consistent with the project scope, schedule and benefits as described in the executed project funding agreement or any approved amendments.