10:09 AM

South Coast AQMD invests in greener future with funding of cleaner Metrolink rail vehicles

Moorpark Station-Tier 4

LOS ANGELES – The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) Governing Board recently unanimously approved up to $59.3 million in funding through the Carl Moyer Program for Metrolink to purchase two cutting-edge, zero-emission rail vehicles. The Board also approved up to $87.4 million from South Coast AQMD’s contingency grant award list to replace 12 earlier-generation Metrolink locomotives with lower-emission Tier 4 locomotives. These awards will advance Metrolink’s ambitious emission-reduction goals outlined in the organization’s 2021 Climate Action Plan.

“Metrolink and South Coast AQMD have long shared a common vision for sustainability in public transportation,” Metrolink Board Chair and South Coast AQMD Governing Board Member Larry McCallon said. “Past funding ushered in a new era of environmentally conscious operations with the arrival of Metrolink’s first Tier 4 locomotive in 2017, and both agencies continue to lead from the front in pursuit of an even greener future.”  

In 2017, Metrolink became the first U.S. passenger rail service to operate Tier 4 locomotives, which meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s strictest standards and significantly reduce smog-forming emissions and particulate matter. South Coast AQMD was instrumental in bringing Tier 4 technology to Southern California, contributing $110 million in grant funds between 2013 and 2017 to help Metrolink purchase its existing fleet of 40 Tier 4 locomotives. The additional 12 Tier 4 locomotives will replace older Tier 2 models that are still in service.

Support from South Coast AQMD will once again allow Metrolink to pioneer new sustainable technology as the agency pursues a zero-emissions future. Funding will be used to procure two zero-emissions rail vehicles, and Metrolink will initiate a process to solicit manufacturer proposals. This pilot program comes on the heels of a Zero Emission Technical Analysis presented to the Metrolink Board of Directors in 2023 and will help determine the effectiveness of a broader transition to zero-emissions technology.

“We continue to explore emerging technologies that will help us reduce our environmental footprint because it’s the right thing to do,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “In 2012, we pushed for Tier 4 locomotives because we knew the impact that reducing our emissions would have on the communities we serve. Ten years later, we became the first passenger rail system in the nation to power our entire locomotive fleet with renewable fuel. We’re honored to once again have the support of South Coast AQMD as we pursue lower- and zero-emission alternatives.”

South Coast AQMD’s Carl Moyer Program provides grant funding for engines, vehicles and other equipment that go beyond regulatory requirements to reduce emissions. In 2018, Metrolink received South Coast AQMD’s Model Community Achievement Award at the 30th Annual Clean Air Awards for its purchase of the original 40 Tier 4 locomotives.

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About Metrolink (metrolinktrains.com)

Metrolink regional passenger rail service offers reliable, safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation throughout Southern California. Metrolink has 545.6 total service line miles and 67 stations across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties connecting people, communities, and businesses and is an essential link in the region’s mobility network. Metrolink’s Arrow service, which launched in October 2022 with nine miles of track and four new stations between San Bernardino and Redlands, provides greater local and regional rail connectivity.

About South Coast AQMD

South Coast AQMD is the regulatory agency responsible for improving air quality for large areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including the Coachella Valley. For news, air quality alerts, event updates and more, please visit us at www.aqmd.gov, download our award-winning app, or follow us on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram.