Supervisors Hire Consultant to Aid Rail Purchase

The County Board of Supervisors has hired a consultant at a cost of up to $681,000 to negotiate the acquisition of a Santa Fe rail line from Los Angeles through the San Gabriel Valley to San Bernardino and begin planning a commuter rail service.

The agreement with Hill International Inc. calls for the firm to undertake a right-of-way appraisal, negotiate a price with the railroad and conduct a number of planning steps, including selecting locations for passenger stations.

Santa Fe has indicated its willingness to sell the line for a commuter rail service, and the Southern Pacific Transportation Co. announced last week that it would be willing to sell right-of-way for three public transit routes, including one between Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

Judy Hammond, press deputy for Supervisor Pete Schabarum, said the supervisor believes that the county and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission should explore commuter rail service on both lines. The Santa Fe line could also be used for a light-rail line, or trolley service, that is being planned between Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Hammond said Schabarum will ask the Transportation Commission to pay one-third of the cost of the consultant's work on the Santa Fe line, but that if the commission does not approve the agreement, he will finance the entire cost from the transportation funds assigned to his supervisorial district.

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