Caltrain Hosts Groundbreaking for Electrification Project

Today, Governor Jerry Brown joined Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and a number of state and local elected officials, business leaders, transportation advocates and environmentalists at the Millbrae Caltrain Station to celebrate the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Caltrain Electrification Project.

The project will electrify the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose and will equip the corridor with high-performance electric trains that will deliver faster, more frequent service to help the system accommodate rapidly increasing ridership demand.

“Today marks the beginning of a faster, cleaner, better Caltrain, a Caltrain that will allow tens of thousands of people to travel throughout the Peninsula with ease” said Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett. “This project will deliver the innovative and cutting-edge transit system that our communities deserve.”

Over the last 150 years, passenger rail service on the Caltrain Corridor has helped shape the evolution of Peninsula communities.  The groundbreaking celebration marks a long-awaited milestone toward a future when a modernized Caltrain connects our communities with state-of-the-art transit service that reduces travel time, increases capacity; and helps relieve congestion on one of the nation’s most important transportation corridors, Highway 101.

The change will also reduce noise generated by Caltrain, improve local air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of jobs in the Bay Area and across the country.

Electrification is a long-awaited project that has been a goal for the system since 1999. In 2012, local, regional and state funding partners agreed to commit resources that were used to match a $647 million Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement that was issued by the Federal Transit Administration in April of this year.

Construction will take place throughout the Caltrain corridor installing the new infrastructure necessary to support an electrified system. The Electrification Project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Below are quotes from strong supporters of the Caltrain Electrification Project that spoke at the event:

"A country is great when it can come together and build for the future. That's what we are doing right here on the Peninsula. It's about the future. It's about clean air, efficiency, speed and not sitting on the freeway for a couple of hours bumper-to-bumper." - Gov. Jerry Brown

“The Caltrain Electrification Project has been a long time coming. So many leaders throughout the Bay Area fought hard to make this project a reality, and I’m thankful to Secretary Elaine Chao for signing the grant agreement.  Caltrain currently carries 65,000 commuters between San Francisco and San Jose each day, running on antiquated diesel engines that have reached the end of their useful life. Today we begin the transition to high-performance, zero-emission electric trains that boost capacity, improve reliability, and reduce end-to-end travel times by 15 percent. This project will allow Caltrain to serve more than 100,000 riders a day by 2040, and take thousands of cars off the roads at rush hour. This is a bright new day for Bay Area commuters.”- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (not in attendance, but shared her sentiments)

“Congratulations to Caltrain and all of the communities on the Peninsula for starting work on the Caltrain Electrification Project. I’m excited this long-planned and much-needed project is finally becoming a reality, and I’m proud of the role my colleagues and I have been able to play in ensuring the Federal government is a full funding partner.”- Sen. Kamala Harris

“Investments in America’s infrastructure are investments in America’s future. Caltrain electrification delivers a modern, efficient transit system worthy of the Bay Area.  For hard-working Americans, the impacts are immense: faster commutes, cleaner air and thousands of new, good-paying jobs in dozens of states.” - Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader

“Passenger service on this corridor began 150 years ago during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and today we gather to celebrate the groundbreaking for the critical upgrades which will bring Caltrain into the 21st century. This groundbreaking is a symbol of the American spirit and the can-do spirit of our region and California. We also celebrate a great American tradition and that is that each generation has the responsibility to build something that is worthy of the next generation.  “Electrifying Caltrain will create thousands of jobs in our region and across the country and it happened because of legendary leaders. I salute Leader Pelosi, Governor Brown, Senators Feinstein and Harris and all the elected officials and community leaders that helped make this much-needed project a reality.”- Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

“Seven lanes of traffic on 101 – NOT! We live in the birthplace corridor of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties- where global industries are born and raised throughout our lives. Tesla/Visa/Genentech and so many more were born here. And now the birthplace corridor is giving birth to a 21st century train system. Trains will arrive every 15 minutes or so -- you won’t have to check your smartphone to know when the next train is leaving.  When 2040 rolls around, 111,000 are projected to be using Caltrain’s electric system each day. That’s enough cars off the road to fill a seven lane freeway in the morning or evening commute. So here’s the 21st century emerging reality: Self-driving cars stuck in old-fashioned traffic jams or an electrified Caltrain with a quiet, fast trip. The choice is obvious.”-Congresswoman Jackie Speier

The Caltrain Electrification Project ensures the future of our region, our residents and California’s innovation economy. Caltrain is a lifeline that helps fuel one of California’s more critical transportation corridors, and embarking on this modernization project is the cause for great celebration. – State Senator Jerry Hill

"Modernizing Caltrain is critical for the future of our regional rail system, and today we are taking a major step to make Caltrain more efficient and reliable. Today is a day to celebrate, but also to recognize we have a lot to do to expand public transportation in the Bay Area so we can reduce the gridlock on our roads and highways, and get people to and from their jobs. This is going to take work on the federal, state, and local level, and I'm proud to be part of a strong coalition of leaders working to bring more funding to projects like Caltrain electrification." -State Senator Scott Wiener


"I was proud to author AB 1889 that helped facilitate access to critical state funding for the electrification of Caltrain. It's always gratifying when all the pieces to a project come together to benefit our community. A cleaner, more efficient rail system will benefit our growing region for years to come and I look forward to watching this project come to fruition."- Assemblymember Kevin Mullin

“This critical project will expand Caltrain capacity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create thousands of jobs, and improve the quality of life of residents in the 24th Assembly District. It’s time that transit on the Peninsula reflects the innovative and technological advancement that is so often spearheaded by our region.” - Assemblymember Marc Berman

“Traffic is a time suck on our lives, a drain on our economy, and a source of harmful emissions into our air. An electrified Caltrain will give us a better transit system that helps our region tackle all these problems simultaneously. I can't wait to ride it." - Assemblymember Phil Ting

“Caltrain electrification will reduce traffic congestion and improve public transportation in the Bay Area, making it easier for commuters, residents and visitors to travel to and from San Francisco. This vital project will bring jobs to the region, spur on economic growth and improve San Francisco’s standing as a cultural, social and innovation hub. A stronger Caltrain makes for a stronger San Francisco.”- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

“This was an environmental project long before it was about jobs and congestion relief and innovation. One of San Mateo County’s top priorities is to reduce the carbon footprint of all county agencies.” - San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Don Horsley

“Caltrain has worked for more than two decades to plan this critical improvement and we would not be able to take this step without the dedicated support from a tireless group of advocates. This milestone is only possible because of widespread and vocal support from the communities we serve.”- Redwood City Councilman and Caltrain Board Chair Jeff Gee

"Electrification of the Caltrain corridor has been a top regional priority for more than two decades. This is a milestone worthy of celebration as we turn our focus to extending the corridor to the Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.” - Jake Mackenzie, Chairman of MTC and Rohnert Park Mayor

“The Caltrain Electrification Project represents the power of cooperation and leadership.  As a region, as elected officials, as business and labor, and as community leaders and residents we all came together to make this transformational project real.  Caltrain electrification is the first step in modernizing mobility options for everyone.” - Rosanne Foust, President and CEO of SAMCEDA

“This single step is electrifying for Bay Area commuters, the nearly 400 member companies of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and our economy. This single step to electrification will allow us to grow capacity from 62,000 daily trips to more than 110,000, a true game changer for the Highway 101 corridor." - Carl Guardino, President and CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group and California Transportation Commissioner

“Caltrain serves one of the most economically productive corridors in California and the nation, and one of the busiest and most congested commuter corridors in the Bay Area region. Electrifying this vital transportation system will boost ridership, clean up our air and remove thousands of cars a day from Highway 101. The Bay Area Council is proud to have supported this vital project from the start.”- Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of Bay Area Council

“Nationally, Caltrain is leading the way for electrified rail infrastructure that will benefit American commuters. This project will create a legacy of interconnectedness across cities, regions, and states, uniting the nation through innovation.  Caltrain was fortunate to receive the federal funding needed but there are more than 50 public transit projects in the federal Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program that are at risk in the proposed FY18 Trump Administration budget.  APTA strongly urges Congress to fully fund the CIG program at the highest level and make clear that they expect the administration to continue implementing the program.” -
Richard White, Acting President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association



About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain enjoyed five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.

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