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Tuesday, June 18, 2013    

Metrolink chief orders 'health risk assessment' of maintenance facility


Metrolink will commission a health risk assessment (HRA) of the agency's Central Maintenance Facility in Los Angeles to determine emission levels and solidify a baseline for air quality improvements.

Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Michael DePallo announced yesterday that he instructed staff to prepare for the HRA, an analytical tool used to estimate whether current and/or future exposures to certain air pollutants will pose health risks to a city or community.

Metrolink Chairman and San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris concurred that the study was necessary.

"I understand the concerns of those who reside near the Central Maintenance Facility," he said in a press release. "I, as much as anyone, want to know the results of this assessment, along with the subsequent measurement of the air quality improvements we have already made to the facility."

The facility is located on a parcel of what used to be known as the Southern Pacific Railroad's Taylor Yard, which serviced locomotives and rail cars since the 1920s. Metrolink began servicing trains there in 1991.

Metrolink made a "major contribution" toward improving environmental quality and future rail system operations with the $129.4 million purchase of up to 20 new low-emission Tier 4 locomotives, Metrolink officials said. The locomotives produce more than 80 percent fewer particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen than current older engines. The locomotives are scheduled to be delivered in late 2015.

Metrolink also has installed automatic engine start stop (AESS) technology on locomotives and implemented an aggressive fuel conservation program. AESS is designed to prevent unnecessary idling to reduce few usage and emissions. Thirty-three of Metrolink's 52 locomotives are equipped with the technology.

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