Passenger Rail Public Survey

Passenger Rail Public Survey
We invite you and your community to take this survey to provide your feedback on your priorities and opinions regarding potential new passenger rail service throughout the Monterey Bay Area and the rest of the Central Coast! This survey is designed to take approximately 5 minutes. All questions are optional and may be skipped. We appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback as the situation develops with regard to COVID-19. In order to provide sufficient time to receive responses, this survey will be open through September 15, 2020. Please provide your feedback and share with others who may be interested!


Para realizar la encuesta en español, haga clic aquí.

RFQ: Salinas Rail Negotiations

Consistent with its reservation of rights as stated in the RFQ, TAMC is withdrawing its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Monterey County Rail Extension Negotiations and will reconsider certain aspects of the RFQ.  TAMC anticipates issuing a new Request for Qualifications in the near future. If you received notices relating to the original RFQ, you will receive notification of the reissuance. If you would like to be added to the list, please contact Christina Watson, project manager, at




Salinas, CA (March 7, 2019) — The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) announced that the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) awarded $2.2 million from Senate Bill 1 State Rail Assistance funding to advance two passenger rail projects in Monterey County.

The $2.2 million awarded to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ (SLOCOG) will be used by the Coast Rail Coordinating Council (CRCC) and its member agencies, including the Transportation Agency, to complete a Coast Rail Corridor Service Implementation Plan and pre-construction activities for a new intercity rail platform in King City.

The Coast Rail Corridor Service Implementation Plan includes developing a strategy for implementing the 2018 State Rail Plan and integrating rail and bus services through the Central Coast between Santa Clara and Ventura counties. The pre-construction activities to support the construction of a King City passenger rail platform to allow service by the existing Coast Starlight and access to Fort Hunter Liggett U. S. Army Garrison and Pinnacles National Park.

Debbie Hale, the Executive Director of TAMC, said, “This award is another example of seeing the benefits of the gas tax. Through the Coast Rail Coordinating Council, we were able to compete for this new source of transportation funding from Senate Bill 1 to make significant enhancements to our transportation networks, which ultimately, will improve our transportation choices in Monterey County.”

When asked what this funding means for his city, Mike LeBarre, Mayor of King City, and Chair of TAMC’s Rail Policy committee, said, “This gives us the opportunity to be a part of the overall solution to address statewide transportation issues.” He went on to say that, “We are highly appreciative that the State is investing in small rural communities; so often we are left standing at the end of the line. In this case, we get to be a part of the solution to reduce emissions and provide more access to our community.”

The significance of advancing these projects forward and their implications for Monterey County are noted by State Senator Anna Caballero, 12th District, “Congratulations to Mayor LeBarre, King City and TAMC for their excellent work to bring passenger rail service to our county. I was happy to support this project because California needs to extend robust public transportation opportunities to rural residents. Connecting our communities to the rest of the state makes good economic sense and helps us to meet our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments is the lead agency for the Coast Rail Corridor Service Implementation Plan and the pre-construction activities for the King City passenger rail platform.


The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) is responsible for investing in regional transportation projects for Monterey County residents, businesses and visitors.  The mission of TAMC is to develop and maintain a multimodal transportation system that enhances mobility, safety, access, environment quality and economic activities in Monterey County. For more information visit or call 831.775.0903.

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) is the facilitating agency for the CRCC, a group of transportation agencies working together to bring improved frequency, speed, reliability, and ease of use to intercity passenger trains on the coastal route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. CRCC Member agencies include SLOCOG, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), and Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). For more information visit





Salinas train station – Call for construction bids

Bids were due by 12:00 noon pacific time on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Bid opening was broadcast online live via Skype. Link to the bid opening video: click here (audio starts 2:30 minutes in, at noon)

Protests were due by 12:00 noon pacific time on Friday, March 29, 2019

Non-mandatory pre-bid meeting and site visit: 10:00 a.m. pacific time on Friday, January 4, 2019

Location: on site at the Salinas train station, First Mayors House (Historic Harvey House), Cook House (20 Station Pl, Salinas, CA 93901)

Questions due by 12:00 noon pacific time on Monday, March 4, 2019.

In general, the work includes Demolition, Grading, Drainage, Paving, Curbs, Sidewalks, Retaining Wall, Lighting, Traffic Signal Modification, Water Line Relocations, Signing, Striping, Planting, Irrigation, Station Furnishings.

To review the Bid Book and initiate the electronic bidding process, click here. This link will take you directly to the solicitation, once you create an account. It is free to view the bid book and list of plan holders. All vendors who intend to submit a bid will be required to install the Info Tech Express Sign Tool and generate an Info Tech Digital ID for your authorized signer, which could take as long as seven business days (although typically only one or two), so please plan accordingly. Click here for the Bid Express Quick Start guide. If you need Bid Express assistance, please call the dedicated Bid Express customer support team at 888-352-BIDX (2439) for live support on business days from 7am – 8pm (EDT). You can also email the team at or refer to the Vendor Resource page located here.

Bid Forms, Contract Documents and Addenda, if issued, will be available from the electronic bidding system.

Paper bids will not be accepted.

Electronic bids and all bidder inquiries must be submitted through the electronic bidding system.

A Bid Bond in the amount of 10% of the total bid is required. Bidders may use an Electronic Bid Bond or submit a paper bid bond to TAMC by the bid deadline. To submit Bid Bonds electronically, please ensure your company and your bonding agent’s company register with one of the following Bid Bond agencies affiliated with Bid Express:

The contractor must possess a Class “A” General Engineering Contractor’s License.

Salinas Train Station Package 1 Plans and Specifications:

Information Handout:

California Environmental Quality Act Documents:

TAMC Board approval: staff report here

“Plans underway to connect Salinas Train Station to Bay Area”

, Salinas Californian 

Published 2:00 p.m. PT Aug. 10, 2018 | Updated 5:33 p.m. PT Aug. 13, 2018

The ceremonial sledgehammer demolition that took place at the Salinas Train Station Thursday is part of a much larger breakthrough connecting Monterey County to the larger mass transit network in the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding regions.

Think of the $81.5 million-dollar Kick Start Project as part of a Russian nesting doll that encompasses a long-term rail development, said Christina Watson, principal transportation planner for the Transportation Authority of Monterey County, or TAMC, the local lead agency on the project.

There is no definite timeline for rail operations yet.

TAMC’s Kick Start is one of three phases to  create the Monterey County Rail Extension to Gilroy – where the Bay Area’s Caltrain currently ends. Salinas Californian

“This is a critical first piece of getting folks on the train,” Debbie Hale, executive director of TAMC, said. “It’s a really landmark project and we can’t wait to get started on this beginning piece of it, which is the demolition.”

The project is one of three phases to ultimately create the Monterey County Rail Extension from Salinas to Gilroy – where the Bay Area’s Caltrain currently ends in south Santa Clara County:

  • Phase 1: Kick Start Project, which includes Salinas train station circulation improvements, train layover facility, Gilroy track improvements
  • Phase 2: Pajaro/Watsonville Multimodal Transit Hub, which provides a connection point for Santa Cruz County
  • Phase 3: Castroville Multimodal Station, which provides a connection point for Monterey Peninsula

Monterey County suffers from increasing congestion for commuters along Highway 101 en route to the job-heavy Silicon Valley and greater Bay Area, an issue noticed by Deputy Secretary Chad Edison’s California State Transportation Agency, who attended the demolition event.

His agency looks at how people move throughout the whole state.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the existing road system,” Edison said of the local commute north. “That’s both related to the journey to work and it’s also related to tourism and travel in this region. It impacts the economy because people who have a bad experience getting to and from a place end up choosing to go other places on a next trip or they choose to work in another city.”

The alternative of rail can alleviate those issues, and funding from the state on the Kick Start Project – $10.18 million from the SB 1 gas tax and $23.4 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program, the largest funding source – seeks to push those infrastructure projects.

California’s Traffic Congestion Relief Program also provided $20 million.

“As we have been working over the last few years on really looking at how to solve those problems on a corridor level, on a multimodal level, rail continues to be something and is increasingly becoming something that needs to have more and more attention,” Edison said.

The local transit improvements will also have a plethora of multimodal transit options that connect the Salinas train station to the surrounding area, including local bus lines in downtown Salinas, which currently do not transfer but require walking a block and a half from the station to the bus depot.

Only Amtrak’s daily Coast Starlight train, which arrives southbound at 11:48 a.m. and leaves to San Jose in the evening, connects rail to the Bay Area – albeit at times not viable for work hours.

“It’s a great trip,” Watson said of the current train, which runs from Seattle to Los Angeles, “but it doesn’t serve the market that we’re looking to provide an alternative for the commute up to the San Francisco Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley, San Jose.”

Analogous to the Russian nesting doll, the fully funded Kick Start Project begins with first improving the Salinas Train Station by extending Lincoln Avenue to the station while also improving circulation, parking and landscaping, set to finish in 2020.

Part of this, in addition to moving utilities under the Lincoln Avenue extension, includes demolishing structures where Lincoln Avenue connects, which has already been going through hazardous materials abatement with asbestos and lead-based paint. The buildings block visibility of the station.

The Salinas Fire Department, in between abatement and demolition, is also doing personnel training in some of the vacant buildings soon to be razed.

TAMC’s second part is getting a train layover facility in Salinas, which provides maintenance for trains as a stopping point, followed by the final connection of existing rail at the Gilroy train stop, where Caltrain stops today, to adjacent existing rail line.

This requires coordination and discussion with the state, Caltrain – a joint-owned agency consisting of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties – that operates the rail line until Gilroy, and Union-Pacific Railroad, the owner of the rail.

Caltrain, Watson said, may be the train operator for service to and from Salinas.

For now, TAMC is drawing from a few sources for Kick Start funds in addition to the state, using $7.2 million from Proposition 116 – passed by voters originally in 1990 – $18.1 million from Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and $2.7 million from a local pot.

The future two phases of TAMC’s rail extension are unfunded but would include a Pajaro train station that connects to the Santa Cruz branch rail line, and a final phase of a Castroville station to connect – in the near term, bus service, and the long-term, light rail – to the Monterey Peninsula.

The rail extension could have an estimated annual ridership of 112,000, a TAMC flyer projected.

But as the Bay Area housing market expands and requires more people to commute from farther distances, Watson said existing communities are already being displaced.

“There’s a lot of traffic because people already do (the commute) today because they like to work in the Silicon Valley area, but it’s hard to afford a house to live there,” Watson said. “So we’re just trying to provide an alternative to do that commute by car.”

Caltrain tickets, as it is, are already expensive: $15 dollars one-way from Gilroy to San Francisco.

Hale said prices would offset car payments, though.

“None of your transit payments are going to run you through three or four hundred dollars a month,” she said. “If it keeps you from having to buy that second car, it’s economical for folks.”

Councilmember and chair of TAMC’s rail policy committee, Kimbley Craig, said there will always be concern about displacement or gentrification of residents with the rail extension, which does not have a date of operating service yet.

“What I see is as Salinas is expanding into ag technology, the ability to get to and from San Jose, the tech hub of the world, and for San Jose to get to the Salinas Valley will be really critical and instrumental in expanding our workforce and expanding our job base here in the Salinas Valley,” she said.

Staff Writer Eduardo Cuevas can be reached at (831) 269-9363 or Follow on Twitter @eduardomcuevas.

Monterey County Weekly

The Buzz 08.09.18



For years, the promise of better train service to Salinas has been purely conceptual. That changes at 11am on Aug. 9 when the Transportation Agency for Monterey County holds a groundbreaking ceremony to put a shovel in the ground on the Monterey County Rail Extension project, which will offer two round-trips daily from Salinas to Gilroy. The idea is to extend Caltrain service further south, and offer an alternative commute to Silicon Valley. The $81 million project includes some rail improvements, but mostly improves access to the existing station, TAMC planner Christina Watson says: “It’s going to really transform the train station and make it a nicer place to be.” Speakers at the groundbreaking include State Transportation Agency Deputy SecretaryChad Edison, Assemblymember Anna Caballero and TAMC Director Debbie Hale.


As wildfires rage across California (again), the headlines of major media outlets are finally acknowledging what has long been in plain sight: With climate change making the West hotter and drier, wildfires will continue to grow more frequent and destructive. A snapshot of the warming planet came with the Aug. 1 annual State of the Climate report led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which compared 2017’s weather to past years. Globally, it was the third-hottest year on record (2016 was first; 2015, second), and had the highest greenhouse gas concentrations in at least 800,000 years. Among other tidbits: Arctic maximum sea ice coverage and Antarctic sea ice coverage both reached a record low. In turn, sea level rise reached an all-time high, and is rising at about 1.3 inches per decade. Buckle up, folks.

Commuter Train Service Ahead For Salinas

Monterey County
August 9, 2018
Reporter Erika Mahoney, from 90.3 KAZU, NPR for Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz reports on the new commuter train service destined for Monterey County with the help of funds from SB 1, the gas tax. Click on the link below for the full story:

Monterey County Rail Extension project underway

By: Mariana Hicks 

SALINAS, Calif. – The long-awaited Monterey County Rail Extension Project between Santa Clara County and Salinas is finally underway.

Thursday, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County announced its “kick start” event for the project in Salinas.

There’s a lot of work to be done ahead of the projected 2020 start date.

“First of all we’ll be demolishing all of the buildings that are in the parking lot part of the station,” said Debbie Hale, executive director for TAMC. “Then we’ll be extending Lincoln Avenue so there will be a direct way to get from city hall to the train station.”

Then layover facilities will be built where trains can be housed overnight.

Once the project is completed, there will be two morning and two evening trains between Salinas and Gilroy, perfect for folks making the commute. There are also passenger lines from Gilroy to San Jose.

“People can work in the Bay Area and other places and hop on a train and come home to Salinas,” said Paul Farmer, CEO of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce.

While it’s aimed at commuters right now, it can also open up the Central Coast to those in the Bay Area.

TAMC says the rails are more beneficial than the roads.

“It will help reduce air pollution and that’s really important and it’s a much less expensive way for us to provide more capacity for people to make that trip without having to widen the highway, which is very expensive,” Hale said.

The $81 million project is being paid for with state funds, including the so-called gas tax.

There are also plans to build additional stations in Pajaro for those in Santa Cruz County or North Monterey County who don’t want to drive to Salinas. There’s also plans for one in Castroville, where folks can connect to the Monterey Peninsula.

Salinas rail extension project set for groundbreaking ceremony

Looking south from the Salinas train station off Market Street in Salinas Friday. Transportation Agency for Monterey County is poised for groundbreaking on an $81 million first phase of a Salinas rail extension project aimed at upgrading the train station and bringing rail service from Gilroy and Bay Area to Monterey County. (Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald)
Looking south from the Salinas train station off Market Street in Salinas Friday. Transportation Agency for Monterey County is poised for groundbreaking on an $81 million first phase of a Salinas rail extension project aimed at upgrading the train station and bringing rail service from Gilroy and Bay Area to Monterey County. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald) 
Vintage train engines at the Salinas train station off Market Street in Salinas Friday. Transportation Agency for Monterey County is poised for groundbreaking on an $81 million first phase of a Salinas rail extension project aimed at upgrading the train station and bringing rail service from Gilroy and Bay Area to Monterey County. (Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald)
Vintage train engines at the Salinas train station off Market Street in Salinas Friday. Transportation Agency for Monterey County is poised for groundbreaking on an $81 million first phase of a Salinas rail extension project aimed at upgrading the train station and bringing rail service from Gilroy and Bay Area to Monterey County. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)

Salinas >> With the Salinas train station on the verge of a major facelift as part of the planned Salinas rail extension project, the long-awaited proposal is set to mark the start of construction next week.

With site work already underway, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday at 11 a.m. for the $137 million project aimed at bringing new passenger rail service from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley to Monterey County. The event will be held at the train station off West Market Street in Salinas.

Local elected officials including state Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, Supervisor John Phillips and Salinas City Councilwoman Kimbley Craig are slated to attend along with Transportation Agency for Monterey County executive director Debbie Hale and Salinas City Center Improvement Association President Catherine Kobrinsky Evans. California State Transportation Agency director Brian Annis has also been invited to join the event.

Transportation Agency for Monterey County spokeswoman Theresa Wright said the time is right to mark the occasion with extensive demolition work about to begin on the site as part of the rail project’s $81 million first phase, which has been in the works for some time.

“This will be the first tangible, visible sign for the public that the project is moving forward,” Wright said, noting that many Salinas residents don’t even realize the city has a train station. “People will start noticing the work going on.”

Transportation Agency for Monterey County planner Christina Watson said hazardous material removal work involving lead-based paint and asbestos has already begun, and the first actual demolition work could start as soon as the same day as the groundbreaking starting with the former All U.S. Credit Union building at 20 West Market Street.

“We’re going to be literally knocking buildings down,” Watson said. “This is going to be a complete transformation of the area.”

According to Watson, a total of six main buildings and an outbuilding will be demolished at the site, including the old El Aguila tortilla factory, and the work is expected to be complete by mid-October. While the transportation agency has legal possession of all the buildings to be demolished, Watson said negotiations continue on a purchase price for three of the buildings and the issue could end up in a new court hearing no earlier than February, long after the buildings are removed.

The station will be designed to integrate the new rail service with existing Amtrak rail and bus service, Monterey-Salinas Transit bus service and Greyhound bus service, and will be the main end point for the planned Marina-Salinas multimodal bus rapid transit and bicycle corridor connecting the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas through Marina.

Watson said the goal is to start offering two round-trip Caltrain passenger trains on weekdays from Salinas to Gilroy, and beyond to San Jose and San Francisco, and then back to Salinas by 2021 following negotiations with the rail authority and completion of the crucial layover facility.

A conceptual schedule envisions the trains leaving Salinas, which would be the Caltrain service’s new start and end point, between 5:11 a.m. and 6:11 a.m., and returning between 6:25 p.m. and 8:51 p.m. on a daily basis. Trips would take about 55 minutes from Salinas to Gilroy, about an hour and 55 minutes to downtown San Jose, and about three and a half hours to San Francisco.

Early estimates predict 95,000 riders in the first year, or about 1,800 per week, 365 per day and about 180 per train. Long-term estimates suggest up to 525,000 riders per year once additional stations are added and service is expanded.

Projections also suggested the service would cost about $5 million per year to operate and collect about $4 million in ticket sales revenue, requiring a $1 million annual subsidy.

Watson said Caltrain has actually been considering halting service to Gilroy due to declining ridership but expects to see a boost from extending service to Salinas and the Monterey Bay area.

Later phases of the project call for adding stops at stations in Pajaro and Castroville, which would also serve as multi-modal transit hubs connecting to the rest of Santa Cruz County to the north and the Peninsula to the south. Future plans call for expanding the number of daily trips and extending service to Sacramento.

Hale noted the groundbreaking comes after decades of work to bring new rail service to the area. Watson said the project has been discussed since Transportation Agency for Monterey County was awarded $3 million in seed money from a 1990 state rail bond, and the project’s business plan was adopted in 1999.

Next Friday, Transportation Agency for Monterey County and the Salinas Chamber of Commerce are offering a “future commuter train tour” that includes a 7:15 a.m. bus ride from the Salinas train station to San Jose’s Diridon Station and an Amtrak Coast Starlight ride along the commuter rail route back to Salinas, followed by a tour of the future Salinas intermodal station. Cost is $20, visit for more information.

Jim Johnson can be reached at 831-726-4348.


MONTEREY COUNTY – The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) will host a groundbreaking ceremony at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, August 9th, 2018 to celebrate the launch of the much-anticipated passenger rail extension project. The ceremony presented by TAMC and the Salinas City Center Improvement Association will be held at the Salinas Train Station, 18 Station Place (parking lot behind former All US Credit Union).

The long-awaited Monterey County Rail Extension – Kick Start Project will extend passenger rail service from Santa Clara County to the City of Salinas. The project will improve commuter access between Salinas, Gilroy, San Jose, and San Francisco. It will provide an alternative to traffic congestion, thereby reducing commuter stress and increasing productivity. The extension will provide access to jobs, healthcare, education and shopping, and expand transportation options for the young, elderly and disabled.

The Monterey County Rail Extension project represents an $81 million investment in the infrastructure of Monterey County. The project constitutes an unprecedented collaboration of state and regional transportation agencies, along with local jurisdictions, to put in place the transportation infrastructure Monterey County needs to thrive in the 21st century.

In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, the Historic Harvey House and Salinas Railroad Museum will be open for tours.

Speakers at the ceremony include:

 Brian Annis, Secretary, California State Transportation Agency (invited)

 Assemblymember Anna Caballero, 30th District

 Supervisor John Phillips, Monterey County 2nd District

 Kimbley Craig, City of Salinas Councilwoman, TAMC Rail Policy Chair

 Catherine Kobrinsky Evans, President, Salinas City Center Improvement Association

 Executive Director Debbie Hale, Transportation Agency for Monterey County

Ceremonial Sledgehammer Demolition/photo op/interviews; Light Refreshments