Obama Administration Advances Funds for Caltrain Electrification
On February 9th
, United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that President Obama is recommending that $125 million be included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Federal budget to advance the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP). The Federal Transit Administration also announced that the project will receive more than $72 million in prior year funding allocations.
PCEP is the first project in California to be included in the Project Development phase of FTA’s Core Capacity Program. The funding announcement signals significant progress toward a full funding grant agreement between Caltrain and FTA. The Administration’s request for $125 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2017 will require Congressional approval.
The FTA’s Core Capacity Grant Program is designed to provide targeted capital investments in transit systems that are at or will be over capacity within five years. The Core Capacity Program is an ideal match for the PCEP because the project will help Caltrain accommodate more riders. Today, most of Caltrain’s rush hour trains are running at more than 100 percent capacity.
“We are very excited and thankful that President Obama and Secretary Foxx are taking decisive steps to help modernize and electrify the Caltrain corridor,” said Jim Hartnett, Executive Director, Caltrain. “With the Administration’s help, we are looking forward to starting work on a project that will deliver more service on one of the nation’s fastest growing commuter rail systems.”
"It is enormously significant that the President has placed $125 million in his budget for the modernization of Caltrain, in addition to the Federal Transit Administration's announcement of $72 million in previously allocated federal funds for the project," said U.S Representative Anna Eshoo, who wrote to the President in support of Caltrain's request for funding last November. "This bolsters our plan to modernize the system with a more efficient, electrified Caltrain, which will increase ridership capacity, lower costs, and reduce noise and air pollution. Replacement of Caltrain's aging diesel engines will allow for 111,000 more daily riders, taking thousands of cars off our highways and reducing local air pollution by up to 96 percent.
"It's a defining time for Caltrain, and I'm thrilled the President is seizing the moment, as we have, to see that Caltrain is the 21st century transportation system our region deserves."
“I am thrilled that the President recognizes the importance of Caltrain to this country and recommended $125 million for electrification. I and the other members of the Caltrain delegation will fight hard to get this funding approved by Congress and we will continue to push for the full $447 million we originally requested.”
Caltrain transports more than 60,000 riders to and from the peninsula every day. Many companies work to have their buildings ‘Caltrainable.’ “Caltrain literally is a major engine of our economy,” said U.S. Representative Jackie Speier.
FTA’s Core Capacity Program was created by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st
Century (MAP-21) Act and is part of the Capital Investment Grants Program. Projects eligible for Core Capacity Program grants must expand capacity by at least 10 percent in existing transit corridors that are already at or above capacity today, or are expected to reach that point within five years. Chicago, New York City and Dallas also have projects in the Core Capacity Program Project Development phase and the President’s FY 2017 budget proposes $458 million for the program.
The Caltrain Electrification Project will electrify the system between San Francisco and the Tamien Station in San Jose and convert Caltrain’s diesel-based system to Electric Multiple Units (EMUs). The electrification project will reduce diesel emissions in this corridor by 96 percent by 2040, will allow Caltrain to provide more service to more stations, increasing ridership and providing faster service between San Francisco and San Jose.
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