A proposed new budget deal in Congress would preserve funding to electrify rail lines between San Jose and San Francisco. That corridor is one of the busiest in the nation as it serves the tech community on the San Francisco peninsular known as Silicon Valley. Bringing electrification to the rail transport system would have a significant effect on carbon emissions in the region and reduce the area’s well known traffic congestion.
In a blow to the Trump administration, Congressional leaders have proposed a funding deal that will keep the federal government going until September. Included in the deal is $100 million for the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project, a plan to electrify rail lines in the area. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao — wife of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell — had eliminated all of the funds for the project from her budget proposals back in February.
Approval of the 2017 budget and execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement by the Federal Transit Administration would allow construction to begin immediately. The project is expected to create more than 9,600 new construction jobs.
“We are cautiously optimistic, that bipartisan approval of the budget will be a signal that the Administration plans to follow through with a commitment to invest in Caltrain electrification so we can put thousands of Americans to work and do our part to help drive the national economy,” said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. “Since the news of the delay in authorizing our FFGA, this is an encouraging sign that the efforts of our Congressional delegation and the employers and riders who have joined us in advocating for this project are having an impact.”
The Peninsular Electrification Project will increase the capacity of the system and provide more clean energy transportation opportunities for area residents. Caltrain says in a press release, “Caltrain is already the mobility option of choice for over 65,000 daily riders. By connecting communities with more service to more stations and reducing travel times, electrification will make Caltrain even more attractive, equipping the system to accommodate more riders and providing significant relief to drivers on busy local streets and roads and increasingly congested freeways.”
Source: Caltrain email.