BayRail Alliance endorses MTC’s San Francisco/Silicon Valley Corridor strategy

Information about the MTC’s High Speed Rail strategy.

June 24, 2009

Will Kempton, Director
California Department of Transportation
1120 N St, PO Box 942873
Sacramento, CA 94273-0001

Dear Mr. Kempton:

For more than 25 years, BayRail Alliance has been a strong supporter of Caltrain service improvements on the Peninsula. We are also proud for our advocacy efforts on high speed rail especially during the early part of the decade.

We are writing to express our full support of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Corridor Investment Strategy recommended by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. We support MTC’s strategy because it is the best approach to fulfill the promise made to voters through last year’s Proposition 1A and the intent set forth in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

MTC’s two-phase approach would provide significant improvements for Caltrain in the near term:

• Electrification of the Caltrain line would provide faster and more frequent rail service along the congested Peninsula corridor, as well as remove harmful diesel exhaust in our local communities. The electrification infrastructure proposed will be compatible with high speed rail.

• We also strongly support the early completion of the Transbay Transit Center train box. By building the train box first, we would significantly reduce cost, minimize construction risks, and shorten the time needed to complete the full Caltrain/HSR extension into the new Transbay Transit Center. The new center would connect bus and rail lines from all over the Bay Area and provide a world-class experience for commuters and travelers arriving in San Francisco.

• Another key investment is Positive Train Control. With state-of-the-art signal and train control technologies, we can operate trains reliably and prevent tragedies similar to last year’s Metrolink and most recently at Washington Metro.

In the long term, MTC’s investment strategy would provide a strong foundation for additional infrastructure improvements for high speed rail. As demonstrated in Europe and on the Northeast Corridor, it is our long held view that inter-city high speed rail can and should share tracks and other infrastructure with regional rail service like Caltrain. Through MTC’s strategy, not only our goals of improving Caltrain service would be fulfilled, we can get the maximum economic, commute, and environmental benefits for the Bay Area and the state with this modest investment from the federal government.

Sincerely,

Andy Chow
President
BayRail Alliance