Last year, Metrolink released a report titled Integrated Service and Capital Plan which detailed plans for wide-reaching upgrades to the 500-mile commuter rail system, including partial electrification and increased train frequency. The paper offered up solutions to many of Metrolink's shortcomings but offered no mechanism for payment. It seems that the agency may find the answer to that problem at the ballot box.
According to a blog post on the website RailPAC.org, local transportation advocates hope to place a ballot measure before voters in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties in 2020 that could fund the so-called "Electrolink" plan through tax revenue.
As detailed by Alon Levy, the upgrades proposed by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority include electrification of the Antelope Valley Line up to Santa Clarita, the Ventura County Line up to Moorpark, and the Orange County Line to Laguna Nigel. This would allow for higher-frequency service, as detailed in the diagram below.
This service pattern would notably feature eight trains per hour between Union Station and Burbank along a shared stretch of track between the Antelope Valley and Ventura County Lines, and up to four trains per hour between Irvine and Union Station along the Orange County Line.
The proposal also calls for better coordination between Metrolink trains and other local transit services.
While Los Angeles voters have already voted twice in the past decade to tax themselves for transit, similar ballot measures face less certain odds in more conservative reaches of Southern California. However, a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court could potentially improve the proposed measure's chances by lowering the threshold for citizen-sponsored referendums to 55 percent for passage.