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Trumps Infrastructure Promises Might Not Include California

Electrifying Caltrain is low-hanging fruit for Infrastructure spending. Unfortunately, the fruit may spoil on the vine because the California GOP and Donald Trump have put the project on hold.
March 6, 2017, 2pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Commuter Rail
Hank Shiffman

The Caltrain system ridership is growing quickly, even as other parts of the country have seen their ridership shrink. To modernize that service, plans had been in place to electrify the system, "The contracts and funding for this were ready to go until California Republicans lobbied the Department of Transportation to hold off on confirming $647 million in funding earlier this month in order to thwart high-speed rail. Caltrain’s contracts were contingent on this funding being approved by today," writes Kim Mai Cutler in Medium.

Mai Cutler argues that this "shovel ready" project should be a priority for a government looking to build the country's infrastructure. Caltrain ridership has roughly tripled since 1980 and it serves one of the most economically vibrant parts of the country. "Electrification may not sound sexy. But it is imperative for a region with transit infrastructure running at full or even above capacity," Kim Mai Cutler writes. For more coverage of the decision to defer funding for Caltrain electrification, see detailed a detailed article by Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid.

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