As Metrolink moves forward with its Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion Program, it is expected to create an economic jolt of 1.3 million jobs through 2050, according to Metrolink officials.
A recent Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. study forecasted an increase to the gross regional product of almost $684 billion, as well as 1.3 million jobs through 2050 as a result of SCORE.
This 10-year, $10 billion improvement program is set to upgrade regional rail infrastructure throughout Southern California in order to improve commute times and air quality ahead of the 2028 L.A. Olympics.
Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., said she believes the SCV region will benefit substantially from the project.
“Not only will the project create construction jobs in the county, but the rail improvements will allow Metrolink to increase bi-direction service frequency to the Santa Clarita Valley,” Schroeder added. “More frequent and reliable train service means that many more residents will consider the train a viable commuting option.”
Improvements are set to allow for services every 30 minutes on all lines throughout the day when demand and funding exist, while reducing 3.4 billion vehicle miles traveled between 2023 and 2078 and eliminating 515.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the same period, per the study.
While benefits, such as the job creation and economic growth the project will provide, are important, Councilwoman Marsha McLean said she believes ridership will continue to increase as improvements are put in place.
“I continuously hear from Santa Clarita residents who commute to their work that they wish there was adequate public transportation to get them to their jobs and back during times that fit their schedules,” McLean said. “The more alternative modes of transportation available, the more people can leave their cars at home and not have to deal with gridlocked freeways.”
McLean said she intends to continue working with agencies and elected officials, such as Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the North L.A. County Transportation Coalition, among others, to keep focus on funding for necessary infrastructure upgrades.
The study also projects SCORE will increase wages by $185 billion over three decades and boost the region’s economic output by more than $1 trillion.
Metrolink is expected to break ground on the SCORE program this year.