By Chris WilliamsCalifornia’s rail network has surpassed the record high of 1.4 million trains in April, with rail prices hitting a record high, according to a report from the California Department of Transportation.
The monthly data from the Department of Finance and Administration shows that rail travel on the California Pacific Railroad (CPR) in April rose 8.2 percent year-over-year, with peak rail fares on the Southern California Railway (SCCR) jumping 28.2 percentage points.
The total number of trains and the number of people on the train was up 2.2 million, and passenger train travel rose 6.7 percent, the department said in a release.
Railways are on pace to reach the record 5.3 million daily riders mark for the first time in history, the agency said.
The agency is also expecting to see the first full year of passenger rail travel in 2019, according the release.
California rail systems are set to have an estimated 1.2 billion passenger trips in 2020, up 4.7 million from last year, according a new study by the National Association of State Directors of Transportation (NASDOT).
Railroads are also seeing the fastest annual growth in the state’s population, with population growth at the state rate of 4.5 percent, compared to 2.4 percent in the previous five years, according NASDOT.
The latest data from California’s transportation department comes after the agency announced last week that it will expand its rail network by another 1.8 million trains by the end of 2020.
The increase comes as rail advocates are pushing for more rail in the Golden State, with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recommending a $1 billion increase in rail revenue for 2019.
California’s $1.8 billion budget is nearly 10 percent of the state budget, the CPUC said in February.
The CPUC is responsible for maintaining California’s public transportation system, including public transportation for all residents and commuters.
California lawmakers have not voted on rail legislation in over five years.
California has a $10 billion rail budget, but no legislative proposals to pay for the program.
California has more than 30,000 miles of high-speed rail tracks in operation.