The California Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $9M three-year contract to promote Amtrak ridership to TMD Group in Sacramento, following a review.

The Golden State spends about $90M in operating subsidies for Amtrak California, according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Pacific Surfliner route, which runs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, is Amtrak’s second busiest route behind the east coast Boston to Washington corridor. Surfliner passenger traffic though slipped 5.3 percent to 2.6M during fiscal 2012.

TMD’s contract calls for presenting Amtrak California as a “progressive, preferable travel option.” It calls for tripling the number of Amtrak California’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers, promoting “themed events” and producing videos.

TMD also will create a statewide rail safety program called “Be Track Smart.”

On Feb. 28, the California High-Speed Rail Authority won a court case against the town of Atherton that claimed the proposed railroad has not complied with the state’s Environmental Quality Act.

The Authority says construction of the system that is to connect San Francisco to Los Angles by 2029 will begin this summer.

The Glass Agency was the incumbent.