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Final Approval Granted to Fund Caltrain Modernization

The city of San Jose, the last of the parties needed to endorse a regional agreement to fund Caltrain, hopped onboard Tuesday.

Another milestone has been reached in Caltrain's quest to pay for the modernization of its rail system on the Peninsula.

The approval Tuesday by the city of San Jose is the last endorsement needed for a regional agreement to fully fund the modernization of the Caltrain system, agency officials announced late Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement leverages local, regional and federal funding to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in state high-speed rail funds for the Peninsula, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

The next step will be the State Legislature’s approval of funding later this month through the annual budget process.

If funding is approved, riders could see an electrified and modernized Caltrain system as soon as 2019.

The electrification and modernization of Caltrain have been in the works for more than a decade, and are "critically-needed improvements that will dramatically improve the service and help ensure the long-term viability of the commuter rail system," Dunn said in a statement.

In addition to funding Caltrain modernization, the agreement also calls for future improvements to accommodate integrated Caltrain and high-speed rail service between San Francisco and San Jose.

This “blended system” was first proposed by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Rich Gordon (Menlo Park) to control high-speed rail project costs and minimize impacts on surrounding communities.

To protect surrounding communities, the agreement specifies the blended system will be limited to design alternatives that are primarily two-tracks and exist substantially within the existing Caltrain right-of-way.

Under the agreement, before the blended system is built, Peninsula communities will benefit from electrified Caltrain service, which will provide faster, cleaner, quieter, more frequent service to more stations and more riders between San Francisco and San Jose.

Caltrain continues to experience record ridership growth, but the system’s current diesel operations are near capacity and are consistently threatened by an ongoing structural deficit.

The electrification and modernization of the Caltrain corridor will help accommodate increased ridership and reduce the subsidy required to operate the system, while also helping to prepare the corridor for future high-speed rail service.

In addition to the city of San Jose and the high-speed rail authority, the MOU has been approved by the California High Speed Rail Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the City and County of San Francisco, the Peninsula Corridor joint Powers Board and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

 

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Ted Crocker June 20, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Caltrain needs to exorcise itself from the teet of HSR.
Davide Florez June 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
BART needs to be extended from Millbrae to San Jose, underground for that stretch using Caltrain's existing right of way, so BART can seemlessly connect with BART in San Jose, and allow riders from East Bay many options to get to SJ or San Mateo or SF using one commuter rail system, without needing to transfer (exit one system only to walk or take a bus to another system). And BART needs to brought up 101 to Sonoma from SF and to all 9 Bay Area counties, including Sonoma and Napa, where land is cheaper and families can afford to buy a house for a somewhat reasonable price. You can use a fraction of the HSR boondoggle money to fund this expansion of BART, and actually use some boondoggle money to subsidize the initial ridership to get people out of their cars and onto this expanded BART system. That my friends has the potential, the possibility, the actual hope of getting people out of their cars in the entire SF Bay Area - East Bay, North, Silicon Valley, SF, etc. But, if you waste all the money on a useless HSR intra-city boondoggle that almost all Californians are saying they would never take, then you leave nothing to fix Regional Transportation. Why do you think everyone is so excited about "modernizing" or electrifying Caltrain? Because it is fixing "Regional Transportation" needs, true needs, which the HSR boondoggle was never meant to address. The same goes for LA area, SD and Sacramento areas as well - fix Regional transportation you Sacramento iditos!
Davide Florez June 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I'll make it simple for you idiot Sacramento Democratic Legislators: IF you approve the Gov's request to spend $4 billion in CA taxpayer dollars in this budget on a High Speed Rail Boondoggle (that only benefits well-connected Union Bosses) THEN you will have all your tax measures defeated in November 2012. It's as simple as that. There is a direct one-to-one correlation between spending General Fund dollars on a HSR Train to Nowhere and then slashing K-12 children supplies. Democrats will, once again, show that you cannot give more revenue, taxes, money to them because they do not need it - the spend too much, this isn't a revenue problem. Don't feed them more tax money! ** WARNING TO SACRAMENTO DEMOCRATS** - Ignore these polls about HSR spending at your peril, because a Court will strike down any HSR bond authorization as exceeding what voters authorized in November 2008 (i.e. a $33 billion train, not a $117 billion train, etc.) and YOU WILL HAVE TAXES DEFEATED IN NOVEMBER 2012: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0603-bullet-poll-20120604,0,3020310.story http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/state-voters-would-reject-high-speed-rail-project-poll-shows.html and http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/12/solid-majority.html and http://www.probolskyresearch.com/california-voters-on-state-spending-and-high-speed-rail/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiSmaoArWOw&feature=autoplay&list=UULpiKaBjaacPw7g5K1nkRXw&playnext=2

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