The Point: New daily intercity passenger rail service between Los Angeles and Coachella Valley will transform travel for southern California residents

RCTC Commissioners and staff went to Washington, D.C. this month to meet with Congressional representatives and other federal officials to promote the need for a new daily passenger rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. RCTC is seeking federal funding that will allow planning for Coachella Valley Rail to advance to the next level.

“CV Rail will be a massive boost for the Coachella Valley, connecting us to employment and educational opportunities, bolstering southern California’s economy, improving our air quality, and providing necessary transit alternatives to fight climate change,” said V. Manuel Perez, RCTC Chair and Riverside County’s 4th District Supervisor. “CV Rail is about equity for our communities and is an important step for the national revitalization of passenger rail,” he said.

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In July, the Commission unanimously certified its Coachella Valley Rail “Tier 1” program-level environmental document and now is seeking funds for “Tier 2” project-level studies – in-depth analysis of the service and operations along the planned 144-mile route, which crosses Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.

RCTC is seeking $20 million to help fund the Tier 2 studies, which are expected to cost $60 million. Recently, funds became available through the federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program on a competitive basis. RCTC and Caltrans will be submitting a joint CRISI Program grant application, due December 1. In addition, several sources of state funds may also be available in the future, and RCTC plans to meet with state officials this fall to request support.

Following the environmental studies and approvals, project design and construction would begin. While the passenger train service could still be 10 years away, RCTC is moving full speed ahead to create a transformational car-free, stress-free way to travel through inland southern California.

The service will provide greater access to jobs and educational opportunities, especially in underserved communities; expand the regional economy and tourism; and help the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, greenhouse gases, and air pollution. CV Rail also makes up a significant segment of Amtrak’s future Tucson-Phoenix-Los Angeles corridor with connections to San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and beyond.

RCTC is seeking community support for upcoming grant applications, even from people who may have voiced their support in the past. Add your name to our list of supporters and future riders by visiting