Of the $1.3 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds scheduled for delivery to Amtrak projects, almost $50 million will go to California projects – half for a new LA Maintenance Facility and most of the balance to meet accessibility requirements.

The maintenance facility is planned as a pre-engineered metal building 820 ft long by 70 ft wide, semi-enclosed with a pit running the length of the building. It will include equipment to remove, clean and service train cars. The project will go to bid in October with construction starting in January, 2010. It could take 12 to 16 months to complete.

A $50-million service, inspection facility and locomotive shop opened in May of 2001. The general contractor was Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Kemp Bros. Construction Inc.

Kemp Bros. Vice President Steve Rosenfield described the 1,000-foot suspended rail that gave repair crews access to the underside of a complete train set as “an oversized Jiffy Lube.”

Stimulus-funded improvements designed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements include wheelchair lifts and enclosures at stations from Needles to Pomona at a cost of between $14,000 and $53,000 each. A new tactile edge on an existing concrete platform in Salinas could run $100,000. A total of $40 million is planned nationwide for ADA improvements to 200 stations.

New signage, automatic ticketing and wireless access for passenger and operator use are also included in Amtrak plans.

A second funding track for Amtrak improvements could be high-speed rail dollars funneled through Caltans for three corridors linking population centers to a future California HSR line.

One line being targeted for improvement is the San Jose to Oakland-Sacramento-Auburn Capitol Corridor. It is the third-busiest corridor in the country with 1.7 million riders a year.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority has $98 million that CCJPA Chairman Jim Holmes thinks would qualify for either capital assistance for intercity passenger rail service or congestion grants funds in the $8-billion rail bill.

Seven projects could be bid and shovel ready within 120 days, according to CCJPA spokesperson Luna Salaver. CCJPA and Caltrans plan to work with Union Pacific Railroad to expedite these projects.

Within 180 days, a $22-million Hayward Double Track Project and $6-million portion of a $56-million Sacramento station and track facility project could be ready to go.

Bids will be announced in late September or early October. Depending on the weather, construction could begin in spring of 2010, according Bill Bronte, Caltrans chief of the division of rail.

Initially the work will include grading for track, laying track and utility relocation.

“Without the stimulus, much of this work would have been deferred indefinitely due to the current economic situation as it has been in the pipeline for years,” says Bronte.

Using the formula of 8,000 jobs per billion dollars, Bronte said 10,400 jobs could be preserved and/or created.