Caltrain officials thanked and congratulated the Peninsula delegation of state legislators who cast historic votes in support of the funding of the California High-Speed Rail Project. The legislation, expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, provides $705 million to the Caltrain Modernization Project, a critical program to bring the Peninsula commuter rail service into the 21st century.
In the face of months of relentless opposition, the following state legislators cast votes in support of funding high-speed rail and Caltrain modernization:
In the state Assembly: Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park; Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco; Tom Ammiano, D-Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Paul Fong, D-Mountain View; Nora Campos, D-San Jose
In the state Senate:Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; Mark Leno, D-San Francisco; Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose
“As is often the case with historic votes, this one was controversial, but these legislators stood tall in the face of relentless opposition,” said Caltrain Board Chair Adrienne Tissier.
“They were early and enthusiastic supporters of modernizing Caltrain and now we can begin the work of transforming the railroad into a quieter, cleaner, more effective electrified railroad that carries more people and provides more service,” Tissier said.
A vote for the high-speed rail funding was a vote for the “blended system” initially advanced more than a year ago by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Assemblyman Gordon and state Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.
“This was a true regional effort by a Bay Area-wide coalition of federal and state legislators, business and labor, environmentalists and transit advocates,” Tissier said, citing the leadership of Congresswoman Eshoo and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, to secure and retain the federal funding for the high-speed rail project and the Caltrain modernization program.
“We are lucky to have leaders with such foresight and whose vision is fixed clearly on the future,” Tissier said.
The legislation approved on Friday authorizes $600 million in high-speed rail funds to modernize Caltrain.
In addition, Caltrain also will receive more than $100 million in connectivity funding through Prop. 1A.
The Caltrain early investment in Caltrain modernization is a $1.5 billion project that includes the Caltrain Electrification Infrastructure project and the Advanced Signal System projects.
As determined by the legislation approved Friday, a regional memorandum of understanding between Caltrain and eight Bay Area entities and a resolution adopted in May by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the Caltrain project will be primary a two-track system, to be shared, ultimately, by Caltrain and High-speed Rail.
The early investment portion focuses on electrifying the Caltrain system and installed a new signal system – projects that both can be utilized by high-speed trains when that portion of the program is funded by future legislation.
All projects will be environmentally analyzed and cleared according to CEQA and NEPA regulations, including updating and recirculation of the Caltrain Electrification EA/FEIR completed in 2009.
Caltrain, as the owner of the rail right-of-way and project implementer will plan, design and construct the projects in a way that respects the communities through which Caltrain operates to the maximum extent feasible.
With the additional funding for the $1.5 billion project, electric train service could be operating on the Caltrain corridor as soon as 2019.