Sacramento (South Corridor LRT)

Printer Friendly Version

South Corridor

Sacramento, California

(November 1996)


The Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) is developing an 11.3-mile light rail project on the Union Pacific right-of-way in the South Sacramento Corridor. RT has elected to phase the project to maximize the use of available state and local capital funds and to correspond with available operating funds. Phase 1, known as the Interim Operable Segment (IOS), consists of a 6.3-mile segment of the full project. The segment would operate between downtown Sacramento and Meadowview Road and has been forecast to carry 25,000 trips per day in the year 2015. The estimated capital cost of the IOS is $220.3 million (escalated dollars). Phase 2 is estimated to cost an additional $222 million (1995 dollars).


Section 3035 (xx) of ISTEA directed FTA to enter into a multiyear grant agreement with RT for $26 million to provide for the completion of alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering, and final design. Through FY 1997, Congress has appropriated $9.92 million in Section 5309 New Start funds.

The Major Investment Study/Alternatives Analysis/Draft EIS was completed in September 1994. The preferred alternative was selected in January 1995. RT expects to complete preliminary engineering and a final EIS on Phase 1 by early 1997. RT is currently funding the Phase I preliminary engineering and final EIS with $3.8 million in local dollars. The full project is shown in the most recent Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Long Range 20 Year Plan.

RT expects to begin preliminary engineering for Phase 2 as soon as additional operating funds can be secured. A one cent state gas tax is to be voted on in 1998.

Justification Mobility Improvements. Population, employment and person trips in the Sacramento area are expected to increase significantly in the next twenty years, with the South corridor expected to grow at rates higher than the regional averages. This is projected to result in substantial deterioration in the levels of service on the two north-south freeways in the corridor, I-5 and State Highway 99. Phase 1 of the project is forecast to attract approximately 4,600 new daily riders to transit, and save 2,700 daily hours of transit travel time over the TSM alternative.

Cost Effectiveness. The cost-effectiveness index for the full project is $1 per new rider, compared to the TSM. The cost-effectiveness index for Phase 1 is $6 per new rider, compared to the TSM alternative.

Environmental Benefits. Sacramento has recently changed from a "serious" to a "severe" nonattainment area for ozone and a "moderate" nonattainment area for carbon monoxide. Phase I would reduce daily automobile trips by 3,800 and the full build would reduce auto trips by 6,650 per day (compared with the TSM alternative).

Operating Efficiencies. Phase I will improve the operating cost per passenger from $2.40 to $2.00, compared to the TSM alternative.

For Phase 1, RT intends to request 51 percent funding from the Section 5309 New Start program. State and local sources, derived from Proposition 108 and 116 bond funds, Local Transportation Fund proceeds, developer fees and other revenues would contribute 49 percent.

The capital finance plan for Phase 1 is rated "high." The Proposition 108 and 116 state funds appear secure as a funding program and, in particular, as a funding source to this project. The funding risk appears low. The Measure A local sales tax is in place. The plan appears to be able to cover lower than expected growth rates as demonstrated in sensitivity analyses for each of the major funding sources.

The stability and reliability of operating funds are rated "medium-high." Funding sources to operate the system are in place through 2008. Operating cost and revenue projections seem reasonable in comparison with trends. Overall, the plan appears to be able to cover unanticipated revenue shortfalls. In 1994, the average age of RT's bus fleet was 4.7 years old, which is better than the national average.


Source of Funds


Funding ($million)

Section 5309 New Start $113.20 ($9.92 million appropriated through FY 1997)
State/Local 107.10

TOTAL 220.03
NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions.

Other Factors Adjacent to the City College station, a specific land use plan is being developed for the City College and Union Pacific Railyards. If the Union Pacific ceases operation at these rail yards, it plans to build a pedestrian and transit oriented mixed use development. Additional developments are to take place at the Franklin Boulevard and the Broadway Stations. RT is currently working with local developers on a joint development project at the Power Inn Station on the existing Folsom Line.