After years of hard work and advocacy, the Bay Area Council is making a final push to secure the remaining funding needed to electrify and modernize Caltrain. The project will increase speed and capacity on the overcrowded commuter rail line and help ease traffic congestion along one of the nation’s most economically important and productive corridors serving San Francisco, Silicon Valley and San Jose. Local, regional, and state funds have been secured, environmental clearances and preliminary engineering are done, and construction crews are ready to begin work. All that’s left is U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval of a $647 million Core Capacity Grant (comprising about one third of total project costs).

Electrifying Caltrain has been one of the Council top priorities, and a study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute in 2012 found that the project would support 9,600 construction and related jobs and generate $2.5 billion in economic benefits. DOT approval was expected later this month, at which point contractors in the Bay Area and across the country would begin work, but some last minute confusion in Congress about what the project is, and what it is not, has now put that federal funding in jeopardy. The Council is rallying business leaders to let U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao know how important this project is to the Bay Area’s economy and that it has the full support of the Bay Area business community.

If you’d like your company to appear on a joint letter urging Sec. Chao to greenlight the grant, please contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham at mcunningham@bayareacouncil.org.