Caltrain will receive $3.2 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grant funds to install an advanced signal system needed to support modernized Caltrain service and the eventual addition of high-speed rail. A portion of the grant funds also may be used to identify other safety improvements at the Caltrain corridor’s vehicular crossings.
Installation of the advanced signal system is a component of the $1.5 billion Caltrain Modernization Program and includes Positive Train Control technology, a federally-mandated safety improvement that prevents collisions by automatically stopping trains when another train is detected up ahead on the tracks.
Caltrain modernization will also convert Caltrain’s current diesel system into one that provides faster, quieter, more frequent service to more stations and more riders using state-of-the-art electric trains that also reduce the system’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90 percent.
U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (CA-14), a strong advocate for the project, said, “Commuters deserve safe, efficient and cost-effective modes of transportation. This funding will go a long way toward modernizing the Peninsula’s transit system and helping our local economy.”
The federal grant will be used along with local and regional investments to match $705 million in voter-approved high-speed rail funds recently appropriated by the State Legislature for investment in Caltrain modernization.
During construction, the project will provide new employment opportunities for thousands of Bay Area workers and, according to a recent study by the Bay Area Economic Institute, will create up to $2.5 billion in economic value including potential travel time savings and residential property value increases near train stations.
Modernization will also make the Caltrain more financially sustainable by increasing system capacity and ridership. Caltrain’s current diesel operations are near capacity following 23-months of consecutive ridership growth, but the agency struggles to maintain service due to an ongoing structural deficit.
Modernization will allow the system to accommodate increased ridership, which generates additional revenue, reducing the deficit and the subsidy required to operate the service.
Several Bay Area legislators and organizations wrote letters to the U.S. Department of Transportation to support Caltrain’s request for funding. A collection of those letters can be found below.