council keeping up pressure for caltrain electrification funding
With the clock ticking on a June deadline to begin work on electrifying Caltrain, the Bay Area Council is continuing its advocacy to secure $647 million in funding the federal government had promised to help pay for the project. Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman on Monday will join Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. Anna Eshoo and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, among others, in a press conference to urge President Trump and Congress to release the funding. Electrifying Caltrain has been a top Council priority for many years, and the Council was instrumental in assembling the original $1.5 billion package of federal, state and regional funding to pay for it. The federal funding was halted earlier this year at the request of a group of GOP Congressmembers over their concerns the project is connected to the California high speed rail line they oppose. The Council argues the Caltrain project is critical regardless of what happens with high speed rail. Wunderman emphasized that point in a meeting with GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy several weeks ago. Operating with slow, outdated and dirty diesel trains, Caltrain has struggled to keep pace with record ridership growth on one of the nation’s most economically productive corridors. The electrification project will allow for more and faster trains and help ease congestion along the entire corridor, while supporting 9,600 construction-related jobs and generating $2 billion in economic activity. To engage in the Council’s transportation policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org.