After the successful launch of Metrolink in 1992, RCTC took steps to leverage the potential for commuter rail as a solution to growing traffic congestion by purchasing the San Jacinto Branch Line from Atchison Topeka Santa Fe (ATSF) in 1993. The following is a timeline of activities that were undertaken to develop the 91/PVL: 

  • 2002: RCTC created the 91/Perris Valley Line project, holding a series of six public meeting

  • 2004: RCTC, with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), conducted an Alternatives Analysis to evaluate transit options for alleviating current and forecasted transportation deficiencies. These included a “no-project” option that studied future roadway planning efforts, an express bus service option, and a new commuter rail service option. Commuter rail was found to offer the best alternative to congested roadways, with the potential to improve mobility for residents and commuters and to reduce congestion.

  • 2004: In order to qualify for federal funding, RCTC prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA). Four public meetings were held, and the EA was circulated for review and comment.

  • 2007: The FTA qualified the project for funding under the “Small Starts” portion of the “New Starts” grant program. RCTC also selected the 91/PVL as its locally preferred alternative for providing public transit service to the area.

  • 2008: RCTC conducted engineering in order to complete studies under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and discover what, if any, environmental impacts might result from the project. During the process, engineering was modified to minimize environmental impacts, and two public meetings were held to update the community. RCTC also prepared an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) on the project’s environmental impacts and circulated the draft document to the public.

  • 2009: RCTC conducted further studies, including a Supplemental Environmental Assessment to refresh the 2004 information and obtain new public comments. In addition, due to concerns raised during the public review of the IS/MND, RCTC began preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report under CEQA to clarify concerns and address new station site options.

  • 2010: RCTC released the Draft EIR for public comment, and three public hearings were held. The Draft SEA also was released for public comment.

  • 2011: RCTC completed the CEQA EIR, and a land preservation group filed a lawsuit to challenge the CEQA findings.

  • 2012: RCTC completed the NEPA SEA.
  • 2013: RCTC and the land preservation group reached a settlement to end litigation and allow construction to begin. Construction began in October 2013.