Friday, March 08, 2013

Caltrain Board adopts updated MOU with CHSRA

The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB), which owns and operates California's Caltrain, adopted an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA).

The agreement lays the foundation for modernizing the Caltrain system through an early investment in the Peninsula corridor and the eventual creation of a blended system that would allow high-speed rail to operate between San Jose and San Francisco.

The MOU specifically addresses project investments that include $705 million provided by Senate Bill 1029 to upgrade existing rail lines and improve train performance through electrification of the Caltrain corridor, installation of an advanced signal system and the purchase of new electrified rail vehicles. The Caltrain Modernization Program will provide more service to more people at more stations, while also reducing the system's greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90 percent, reducing the subsidy required to operate Caltrain service and taking more cars off the region's roads.

"This agreement is particularly meaningful because it ensures local interests and concerns are well represented," said JPB Board Chair Ken Yeager. "The removal of the four-track system from this MOU, the confirmation of JPB's ownership and authority over decision-making on its corridor and the commitment to corridor electrification is compatible with the needs of the blended system."

The agreement has the support of state and local elected officials, business and civic organizations, labor organizations, environmental groups and transit advocates.

Caltrain expects CHSRA to approve the MOU at its April board meeting.

Caltrain modernization is expected to be completed by 2019 and the electrification work is expected to begin in 2015. Caltrain will finalize the Electrification Environmental Impact Report during the next 18 months.

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