On July 28, our Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Economic Development, Robert Dugan, testified to the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority on behalf of the Metro Chamber in support of increasing convenience & ridership for the San Joaquin Commuter Rail to Sacramento. Here is the testimony he gave:
Good Afternoon Chair, Board Members, and Staff,
My name is Robert Dugan – I’m the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Economic Development at the Sacramento Metro Chamber. I am here today on behalf of our member businesses, local government agencies and civic organizations throughout California’s six county Capital region to support your efforts to increase service, access, and capacity of the San Joaquin rail Corridor.
Since its inception 120 years ago, the Metro Chamber has been a leader in advocating for and supporting regional economic success, embracing innovation and economic evolution, and supporting organic job and business growth in the region.
In that regard, we have long supported, in policy and action, a comprehensive approach to transportation infrastructure, and the dynamic needs of a multi-modal transportation system that balanced freeway, street, rail, and transit to move goods, services, and people both inside the region and through it.
Rail and Transit are critical to that balance because reliable public transportation helps get workers to jobs, helps reduce congestion, and helps get goods to market.
Our Rural communities in El Dorado, Sutter, and Yuba counties have very popular commuter bus services. Placer County students, seniors, and workers depend on local and commuter buses to travel within the county as well as to Sacramento. Yolo County also has well-used bus services connecting UC Davis, Sacramento International Airport, downtown Sacramento, and many other locations. And the final component that brings us here today is Rail connectivity.
I had the privilege – we call it that now – of working on the initial stages of the Capitol Corridor in my prior life. It was hard work and required a great deal of leadership. The kind of leadership you all show by your commitment to the JPA.
I am pleased to be here today to support increased connectivity, efficiency and access for the San Joaquin.
We know that the San Joaquin is a critical corridor for the valley, linking the communities to our south with Sacramento. Improvements like those you are considering now, will increase the functionality of the corridor, increase ridership, and contribute significantly to easing congestion and improving air quality.
Informal surveys in train travel interest from the corridor indicate clearly that a majority of respondents from the corridor indicated “Downtown” Sacramento as their destination for work.
As many as 60.46% of them travel to Sacramento “Once per month,” for business.
55.59% of respondents indicated “Car–drive alone,” as their main method of transportation.
95.56% of respondents said they would be more likely to ride Amtrak San Joaquins if it were a more convenient option.
74.25% said that they would be likely to ride “3-5 times/week.”
These are strong numbers, even for a non-scientific poll.
You all know more than I that the more convenient we make rail commutes the more they are used.
In closing, we are pleased to be here supporting the staff recommendations before you today, we are prepared to partner with you on advocacy to make them a reality, and we look forward to increasing the functionality and ridership of the San Joaquin’s.