The Memorandum of Understanding between the California High-Speed Rail Authority and more than a half-dozen Bay Area public agencies leverages local, regional and federal funding to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in high-speed rail funds for the project. Riders could see an electrified Caltrain system as soon as 2019.
Electrification will bring a faster, cleaner, quieter, more efficient train service, with more frequent service to more stations. The result would be an increase in riders and an increase in revenue.
Board Chair Adrienne Tissier urged the board to support the MOU saying, "Today is the day. This is the beginning of making sure that we have a cleaner train, a faster train, more service, more stops, less noise and cleaner air."
The agreement is based on a "blended system" first proposed by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Rich Gordon (Menlo Park).
A blended system would allow Caltrain and high-speed rail to operate on the Caltrain tracks using the current infrastructure with a combination of electrification and positive train control. A larger project would be developed in phases over the next 25 years.
The agreement has already been approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Over the next few weeks, it will be considered by the city and county of San Francisco, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the city of San Jose, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Transbay Terminal Joint Powers Board.