Governor Signs High Speed Rail Bill
July 18, 2012 (Update)
Governor Jerry Brown today signed Senate Bill 1029, which paves the way for building the first segment of California's long-planned high-speed rail line while also providing for a series of complementary regional rail improvements. According to the governor's office, the investments "will create thousands of new jobs in California by modernizing regional transportation systems and linking them to the state's future high-speed rail line." The governor signed the bill at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles this morning, and made an appearance at the future site of the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco this afternoon. Both of these stations will serve as major hubs for the future high-speed rail line.
According to a release from the governor's office, SB 1029 invests $4.7 billion in state bonds to improve rail service statewide. These funds include a $2.6 billion investment (matched by additional federal funds) for construction of the high-speed rail line along a segment in the Central Valley.
According to the release, SB 1029 also includes a $1.92 billion state investment in local rail projects to improve connectivity across the state:
- Light rail systems including LA Metro in Los Angeles and San Diego's Blue Line;
- Electrification of the Caltrain system in the San Francisco Bay Area;
- Replacing train cars on major commuter services like BART in the San Francisco Bay Area; and
- Positive Train Control, an automated safety system designed to stop train collisions.
According to the governor's release, SB 1029 ensures approximately $3.6 billion of economic investment in Northern California, $2.8 billion in Southern California and $6 billion in the Central Valley when matching federal and local funds are factored in.
Read more here.
Next Stop for High-Speed Rail: Governor’s Desk
July 6, 2012 (Updated July 10, 2012)
Advocates of high-speed rail in California had something major to celebrate
4th of July week besides the holiday: passage by the state Senate on
July 6 of a bill authorizing an $8 billion package to build the first
phases of the line while also making improvements to existing commuter
rail service in Northern and Southern California. The bill passed the
Senate by a vote of 21-16, just
one vote shy of defeat. The bill passed the state
Assembly the day before by a vote of 52-28, and is now heading to the governor, who
has advocated for the project.
The governor’s signature would release $4.7 billion in state
bond money for the project and open the gates for the state to receive
$3.2 billion in federal stimulus funding to match the state’s
share. The package would begin construction of an initial 130-mile
length of track in the Central Valley, between Merced and Bakersfield.
This segment falls in the middle of a proposed 432-mile route that
ultimately will connect San Francisco and Los Angeles in under 2.5
hours. Included in the first phase of investments are local rail improvements
in the Bay Area, key among them electrification of the Caltrain line
that connects San Francisco and San Jose.
Plans call for an eventual 800-mile system extending as far north
as Sacramento and as far south as San Diego. MTC has been a strong
supporter of high-speed rail, playing an important role in brokering
agreements on Bay Area aspects of the massive infrastructure project.
Caltrain Press Release:
Caltrain Modernization Takes Important Step Forward
Contact: Christine Dunn, 650.508.6238
July 6, 2012... The California State Legislature's vote to approve funding
for the Caltrain Modernization Project as part of the California High-speed
Rail Authority's effort marks an important milestone in bringing modern electric
rail service to the Bay Area. The bill authorizes $600 million in high-speed
rail funds to modernize Caltrain.
In addition to the money received through the high-speed rail program Caltrain
also will receive more than $100 million in connectivity funding through Prop.
1A. Additional funds for the project will come from a combination of local,
regional and federal sources.
A modern Caltrain system will provide more service, carry more riders, get
more cars off the roads, reduce the operating subsidy and reduce pollution.
"There is a generational responsibility to leave behind a world that
is better than the one we found. This speaks to that responsibility," said
Executive Director Mike Scanlon.
The "blended system" advanced by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Assemblyman
Rich Gordon and State Senator Joe Simitian will allow Caltrain and high-speed
rail to operate primarily on Caltrain's existing tracks, minimizing the impacts
on the communities through which it passes.
Electrification also will help Caltrain reduce its ongoing financial problems.
Not only are electric trains less expensive to operate, but modern, electric
Caltrain service will attract more riders, which will bring more revenue.
The modernization program is a comprehensive reinvention of the historic railroad
that includes electrification and an advanced signal system with Positive Train
Control. PTC is a federally mandated safety system that prevents train collisions.
With the additional funding for the $1.5 billion project, electric train service
could be operating on the Caltrain corridor as soon as 2019.