The Bay Area Council’s dogged work to increase the speed and capacity of the Caltrain commuter rail service along one of the region’s most economically productive but most heavily congested transportation corridors is paying off. In recently announcing a key multi-million dollar contract, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has stepped up its program to direct $705 million in early funding to help electrify and modernize Caltrain in preparation for eventual shared high-speed rail service along the 51-mile line from San Francisco to San Jose. The contract for environmental review and engineering services represents a significant step in moving the project forward. The funding would not have occurred without the Council’s swift action.

As the CHSRA was making decisions in 2012 about where to put early investments for the system connecting northern and southern California, the Council discovered that the Caltrain line was not in the mix. The Council immediately launched an aggressive campaign to mobilize Bay Area transportation leaders and the business community behind securing early funding for Caltrain, and through strong advocacy in Sacramento won the case with legislators. A study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute showing that electrification and modernization project would create nearly 9,600 jobs and generate $2.5 billion in regional economic benefits helped win the day. Through the Caltrain Commuter Coalition that the Council helped form in 2014, we continue our advocacy to modernize and electrify this critical commuter service. To engage in our transportation policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

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