Commuter Rail May Tap CA High-Speed Rail Funds

The CA High Speed Rail Authority hopes to work with Caltrain in the Bay Area and Metrolink in the South Coast by allowing them to use state HSR Bond funds provided they match the amount. Electrification and grade crossing separations are eligible.

While the initial construction remains in the Central Valley, proposals to provide improvements to regional commuter rail simultaneously with high-speed rail construction would allow funding to be spread more evenly across the state, and thus gaining more political allies.

According to Michael Cabanatuan, "The Chronicle has learned that officials with Bay Area transportation agencies are in negotiations with each other, and with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, to craft an agreement that would fund an advanced train-control system, electrify the rails on the Peninsula and eliminate some of the rail crossings - perhaps as soon as 2016, five to 10 years earlier than previous estimate.

Southern California officials have already agreed on a list of projects - most of them eliminating or improving rail crossings or adding additional tracks - and hope to get $1.3 billion from the high-speed rail bonds.

Under the plan being assembled, construction would still start in the Central Valley, but the upgrades to Caltrain and Southern California's Metrolink system would take place simultaneously."

From HSRA Press Release: STATEMENTS ON "BLENDED" APPROACH IN CALTRAIN CORRIDOR, Feb. 13: "The Governor has told us he wants a plan that will get high-speed rail trains on the track sooner and in a less costly manner than previous plans called for. If that can be accomplished by electrifying Caltrain's lines and using that right-of-way, then it's certainly something we want to consider,' Chair Dan Richard said. "

Thanks to MTC Library

Full Story: Caltrain plan would fast-track electric rail

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