Digest: Del Mar, Calif., asks STB for more time to address NCTD filing on maintenance work

News Wire Digest third section for Sept. 18: DC Metro board considers service cuts, layoffs; MTA warns suppliers contracts are in jeopardy without federal aid
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A northbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner heads along the Del Mar Bluffs on Jan. 4, 2020. The City of Del Mar, Calif., has requested more time to respond to a Surface Transportation Board filing regarding rail maintenance work along the bluffs.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Friday midday rail news:

Del Mar asks STB for more time to respond to NCTD filing

The City of Del Mar, Calif., on Thursday asked the Surface Transportation Board for a 20-day extension to file its response to the North County Transportation District’s request for a ruling on maintenance projects in Del Mar — a request the NCTD is opposing. The district, which operates the Coaster commuter train service and owns the right-of-way used by both the Coaster and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, filed a petition in August asking the board to rule that its maintenance projects are not subject to review under state and federal coastal management laws [see “Digest: San Diego transit agency seeks STB ruling …,” Sept. 15, 2020]. Responses to that filing were due Thursday, but the filing by a law firm representing the city asked for for an extension to Oct. 7 because a potential conflict of interest for Del Mar’s city attorney is being evaluated. The district filed its opposition to that request because it says “time is of the essence” for projects it plans for this fall along the Del Mar bluffs, and because it felt Del Mar had adequate time to respond to the original filing. Both letters are available at the STB filings website.

DC Metro board considers potential cuts to address $200 million shortfall
The DC Metro Board of Directors has voted on potential service cuts and other cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, that the agency says will be necessary without additional federal assistance. The agency, facing a $200 million revenue shortfall because of reduced ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic, would make the moves to meet its requirement to have a balanced budget. In a press release, the agency said moves would include reduction of weekday frequency for Metrorail to every six minutes on the Red Line and every 12 minutes on other lines; reduced hours, with closures at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and shortening of the route for some Red Line trains and all Yellow Line trains.

MTA says supplier contracts are at risk without federal assistance
As part of its ongoing effort to raise support for emergency federal aid, Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Patrick J. Foye has sent letters to the MTA’s 11 largest suppliers, warning that all current and future contracts, at companies across the U.S., are in jeopardy unless the agency receives $12 billion in immediate federal assistance. Beyond warning the companies of potential lost income, the letters to such companies as Alstom and Bombardier also point out the jobs created at locations across the U.S. “Let me be clear: federal funding for mass transit isn’t a red or blue issue – it’s a jobs issue,” Foye wrote in the letters. “Our future – and the fate of approximately 100,000 MTA-created out-of-state jobs – rests squarely in the hands of the Senate and White House.” The list of companies receiving the letters, jobs that could be affected, and their locations is available here.

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