High-Speed Rail Authority Approves Partnership to Begin Modernization of Existing Rail in Bay Area

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors today approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) to enhance the rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose by improving the tracks, adding safety features and preparing the route to accommodate future high-speed rail service. This blended system approach minimizes impacts on surrounding communities and saves money. The JPB approved the MOU on March 7, 2013.

The MOU helps implement the $1.45 billion Caltrain Modernization Program, which invests $705 million from Proposition 1A funds allocated under SB 1029 that was signed into law last summer. With this investment, Caltrain will upgrade existing rail lines and improve train performance through electrification of the Caltrain corridor, install an advanced signal systems and purchase new electrified rail vehicles. The Caltrain Modernization Program will provide more services to more people at more stations while also reducing the system’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 90 percent and cutting Caltrain’s operating costs in half.

“This MOU represents a new partnership reflecting a vision for high-speed rail integrated with a regional and state wide rail system that is critical to the future of the state of California,” said Board member Jim Hartnett. “High-speed rail is designed to bring the regions of California together while providing all important benefits at the local level. The partnership between Caltrain and high-speed rail will improve rail traffic for one of the most important economic and innovative regions in our country.”

“The Authority is looking forward to working with our regional partners in moving forward with the projects specified in this MOU,” said Jeff Morales, Authority CEO. “The blended system will allow existing rail systems to benefit from and eventually merge with the high-speed rail program, while also benefitting Bay Area commuters and all Californians in the near future.”

Owned and operated by the JPB, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose and additional commuter service to Gilroy. Caltrain has experienced more than 28 consecutive months of ridership increases, surpassing more than 50,000 riders per week.

The total cost of electrifying and modernizing the Caltrain system is $1.45 billion. The state’s $705 million contribution is being matched thorough a combination of federal, regional and local funding sources. Caltrain is preparing to electrify the corridor by 2019.

About California High-Speed Rail Authority
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the first high-speed rail system in the nation. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a statewide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs. To learn more visit the Authority’s website at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov and join us on facebook.com/CaliforniaHighSpeedRail and follow us at twitter.com/cahsra/.

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