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Friday, January 25, 2013    

Caltrans to unveil draft rail plan that incorporates California's high-speed project


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will host a series of open-house meetings in February to solicit public input on a state rail plan.

Caltrans officials will present a draft of the plan, which aims to establish a statewide vision, set priorities and develop strategies to enhance passenger- and freight-rail service, department officials said in a prepared statement.

The state rail plan will be the first planning document to fully integrate California's planned high-speed rail system with existing and proposed conventional rail systems, Caltrans officials stated on the department's website. The plan will serve as the basis for federal and state investments for high-speed and intercity passenger rail in California.

"It will be a critical document for successful development and implementation of the California High-Speed Rail Authority's 'blended system,' which will combine high-speed rail and improved conventional rail," they said.

The plan will describe existing conditions of the rail systems' infrastructure and service levels, needs and deficiencies; the role rail plays in key markets; the blended system concept for high-speed, conventional intercity and commuter rail planned for a 2018 implementation; and economic and environmental benefits of freight- and passenger-rail improvements. It also will incorporate plans from other California commuter-rail authorities.

Caltrans will make the draft plan available for public review starting Feb. 8 and will accept public comments online until March 11.

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