MTS get $80M for trolley improvements

SAN DIEGO -- Nearly $80 million was allocated to San Diego County rail and freeway improvement projects Friday by the California Transportation Commission.

The Metropolitan Transit System was awarded $31 million to buy 57 new trolley cars, and $26 million for improvements to tracks and signaling systems.

The North County Transit District was allotted $8.5 million to install train collision avoidance systems on rail lines between San Diego and San Onofre.

The funding also includes $14.3 million for a pair of projects to improve state Route 78 through San Marcos, currently rated the worst bottleneck in the region.

One project involves an auxiliary lane to run eastbound from the Woodland Parkway/Barham Drive onramp to the exit at Nordahl Road. The other is an extension of the Nordahl Road onramp to go all the way to Interstate 15.

The commission allocated $1 billion for projects throughout the state, mostly paid for by a transportation bond passed by voters in 2006.