News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current


Rep. Mike Levin announces federal funds to shore up coastal rail lines

Officials travel to Oceanside, tour erosion effects to bluff-side tracks
Rep. Mike Levin, D-49th District, tours bluff-side train tracks in San Clemente on Jan. 25, where landslide that blocked tracks in the area a day before. (Levin Office social media photo)

In the wake of another landslide affecting rail travel between Oceanside and Orange County, Rep. Mike Levin, D-49th District, announced the securing of millions of dollars in federal funds to address ongoing challenges to the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor, known as LOSSAN.

Levin was joined Wednesday, Jan. 25, by state Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, San Diego Association of Governments First Vice Chair Lesa Heebner and North County Transit District board Chairwoman Jewel Edson, in addition to Orange County Supervisor and LOSSAN board member Katrina Foley, in announcing the new funds.

The officials toured the train tracks affected by the most recent landslide in south coastal Orange County. A day before, train service north from Oceanside was halted indefinitely after debris fell on tracks in San Clemente.

LOSSAN is the second-busiest rail corridor in the country, according to Levin’s office.

The money will go to these projects along the LOSSAN portion between San Diego and Orange County:

✔ More than $53.8 million in U.S. Department of Transportation funds will go to the North County Transit District to replace the San Dieguito River Railway Bridge, which is more than a century old. The bridge replacement is the first step in moving the tracks off the bluffs through Del Mar, Levin said.

✔ Caltrans will receive a $500,000 federal Corridor ID Program grant toward long-term improvements of the LOSSAN Corridor between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Levin said the grant is a key step toward releasing future funding to address coastal erosion and landslide concerns.

Funding for both the San Dieguito bridge project and Corridor ID Program comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Levin helped pass in 2021.

“For decades, the Corridor has been impacted by climate change, coastal erosion, and a lack of funding that threaten its integrity, which we witnessed firsthand this week with the closure caused by another coastal bluff landslide,” Levin said in a news release announcing the funds. “These new funding streams will deliver real results and solutions to help protect the Corridor for years to come.”

Blakespear, a former Encinitas mayor, said the funding recognizes the rail line’s importance to the entire state.

“This rail line has potential to efficiently move much larger numbers of people and goods throughout the region, but we need to better manage the line, counter the threats of climate change and strategically plan for the future,” she said in Levin’s news release.

Heebner, who is the mayor of Solana Beach, underscored the importance of shifting train tracks off coastal bluffs.

“Moving the tracks off the bluffs will make the LOSSAN corridor more resilient, increase capacity for passengers and freight, and protect the environment,” she said in the news release.

Replacing the 108-year-old San Dieguito River Railway Bridge will help make the corridor through San Diego more resilient to climate changes, said Edson, who is Solana Beach’s deputy mayor.

“This project will be transformative for rail service in San Diego — adding capacity, reducing maintenance costs, and strengthening our infrastructure,” Edson said in the news release. “The current wood trestle bridge is susceptible to flooding and washout. Replacing it will ensure the LOSSAN Corridor is resilient to the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels.”

In an effort to protect the bluffs and rail corridor, sand replenishment projects got underway in December in Encinitas, Solana Beach and San Clemente, which will place 1.3 million cubic yards of sand on the beaches. The work is being done with $40 million in federal funding, which Levin also helped secure.

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