Founding and Mission of TRAC

The Train Riders Association of California (TRAC) was founded in March 1984 as a citizen lobby and later incorporated as a California 501 (c)4 non-profit Corporation by founders Roger Hooson, Erik Lange, Dan Lovegren and Richard Tolmach. TRAC’s subsequent activism and interest in various rail-related legislative proposals lead to an early alliance with the Planning and Conservation League (PCL), that had been separately promoting passenger train service as part of its own program.

The two organizations were convinced that because of the congestion, sprawl and increasing environmental degradation being caused by the State Government’s over-commitment to roadway travel, Californians would welcome and support a program designed to improve California’s system of passenger trains.

Educational Initiatives and Alliances

TRAC’s educational arm, the California Rail Foundation (CRF), was incorporated in 1987 as a California 501(c)3, non-profit corporation. CRF produces California Rail News (the TRAC newspaper), sponsors the TRAC annual rail conferences and otherwise supports many TRAC educational activities. Contributions to the California Rail Foundation are tax-deductible.

Legislative Efforts and Achievements

During the later part of the 1980’s, TRAC joined PCL’s Board and participated significantly in the drafting of State Proposition 116. Proposition 116, which was approved by California’s voters in 1990, became the funding source for most of the capital improvements to California trains achieved during the 1990s, including the purchase of Metrolink equipment and right-of-way, the purchase of Caltrain right-of-way, and the purchase of new bi-level cars and track improvements for the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin services.

Ongoing Advocacy and Projects

Since that time TRAC has actively engaged in many rail projects and programs. Included has been participation in most Bay Area and Southern California rail projects, an intensive and continuing effort in collaboration with NARP and other groups to strengthen Amtrak’s long-distance train network and an energetic program for maximizing the potential of the proposed California High Speed Rail System.

Officers / Executive Committee

President: David Schonbrunn, Marin County
Secretary: Fred Glienna, Los Angeles County
Treasurer: Gordon Osmundson, Alameda County

Board of Directors

Art Brown, Orange County
Derek Casady, San Diego County
Wallace Cook, San Diego County
John Deeter, Sacramento County
Benjamin Etgen, Sacramento County
Ron Jones, Madera County
William F. McGeehan, Contra Costa County
Gregory Thompson, PhD, Sacramento County

Updated December 15, 2022