Stand up for Caltrain

February 27, 2017
Dylan Hayward

Last week we told you how Caltrain modernization is the most important rail project in the U.S, not just for California, but for us in the Midwest, too. The Federal Transit Administration is deferring a decision on the pending $647 million grant until the Administration develops the President’s FY 2018 Budget. This delay will prevent Caltrain from meeting a March 1 deadline to proceed with previously awarded contracts for electrification and new high-performance trainsets.

Sign the petition to urge the Trump administration to stop holding up Caltrain modernization. (Be sure to click on your confirmation email to be counted!)

Caltrain modernization is a groundbreaking project that will immediately benefit more than 60,000 Bay Area commuters, provide high speed rail a route into San Francisco and provide a template for passenger rail upgrades in the Midwest and around the country. The plan includes electrifying the corridor and enabling the use of modern, comfortable high-performance trains. These trains take advantage of proven technology from around the globe to be safe and lightweight, so they accelerate faster and use less energy. The electrification and track upgrades will allow high-speed trains coming from Los Angeles to reach downtown San Francisco, operating seamlessly alongside express and local commuter trains.

Please tell your elected officials to push for improved passenger rail service throughout the US by funding Caltrain modernization.

A delay to Caltrain modernization now could mean a setback of years for passenger rail upgrades around the United States. The service and trainsets planned for Caltrain are proven around the world, but largely new to the United States. Once Caltrain is able to accommodate more passengers and tighten schedules with modern electric trains, it will be easier to make the case for other commuter lines to do the same.

Bringing high-speed trains to the Midwest will rely on California breaking through existing barriers and Caltrain modernization will prove the benefits and cost-effectiveness of connecting a new, 220mph trunk line to our existing network of tracks. This makes CrossRail Chicago, a proposal to create a high-capacity, multi-purpose passenger rail corridor through upgrades to Metra tracks, much easier to accomplish.

As advocates for better passenger rail in the Midwest and around the country, we must stand up for Caltrain!

Best,

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Background Info on Caltrain Modernization:

Petition Aims to Save Caltrain Electrification Funds
“Caltrain staffers and transit advocates are urging people to sign a White House petition to convince President Trump to save its $2billion electrification project.”

Caltrain Electrification Grant Deferred
"The contracts that have been awarded to complete the PCEP require that a Notice to Proceed be issued prior to March 1. Deferral of the decision to execute the FFGA will prevent Caltrain from issuing the notice by this date and may jeopardize the viability of the project itself."

In California’s Commuter Rail Drama, Nobody’s a Winner
"Now, what many are interpreting as an early funding strike against California lands in the transportation sector. The Federal Transit Administration has put the brakes on a $647 million grant destined for Caltrain, the Bay Area commuter rail system in sore need of an upgrade. This might be a White House knock against California, or it may be a Republican knock against the state’s high-profile rail aspirations—certainly, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. However, no one is likely to score any points off it."

Why Trump’s Attack on a California Railroad Should Trouble You
“By delaying this particular grant—which would electrify Caltrain’s rails, so trains can ditch diesel—the Trump Administration didn’t just deal a temporary blow to the health and economy of the Bay Area. It may have launched the opening salvo in what could be a war against public transit, with national consequences.”

A Trump Ally in Congress Warns His State, California to Make Nice
“He assailed California’s Democratic leaders for provoking the president, and warned that it could prove damaging to the state, particularly as the Trump administration created an infrastructure program to pay for public works projects across the nation.”

Upcoming Events:

2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting
We are scheduling an exciting group of speakers to share ideas, innovations and progress related to passenger rail in the U.S. and high-speed rail around the world!

When: Saturday April 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm (Check in will start at 8:30am)

Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654

Cost: Single Ticket: $60.00
    Student Ticket: $20.00
    *Cost includes lunch

Register Here

Speakers Include:

  • Derrick James, Director of Government Affairs, Amtrak

  • Tim Hoeffner, Director - Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation

  • Katie England, Director of Multimodal Planning & Programs, Indiana Department of Transportation

  • Mark Walbrun, Vice President, Practice Leader - Rail & Transit, US East, Mott MacDonald

Special Rate at Transportation Forum, sessions + tours, UIC Campus April 20-21

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is excited to be part of an important national conference – the 58th Transportation Research Forum, at the University of Illinois – Chicago campus on April 20 – 21. 

This is a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of the latest policy issues surrounding rail, air and highway travel and network with national experts. A $75 early-bird rate (more than 50% off) is available for Chicago-area residents through March 17 that includes a Friday Awards Luncheon with keynote Samuel K. Skinner, former US Transportation Secretary, at which our Association will be represented. There are free Saturday morning tours, including Union & Ogilvie stations and CTA rapid-transit plans.

To learn more or register, click here.  Questions?  Email Dana Yanocha at trf-chicago@depaul.edu.