Caltrain board unanimously approves MOU to partner with HSRA
- Published Thursday, April 2, 2009, by Bay City News
Caltrain agrees to partner with High-Speed Rail Authority
The board that oversees Caltrain today unanimously approved an agreement that establishes a cooperative partnership with the California High Speed Rail Authority for all rail projects on the Caltrain right-of-way.
The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, in its monthly meeting at the SamTrans administrative offices in San Carlos, agreed by a 9-0 vote to partner with the state rail authority, which is in the planning stages for a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
By accepting the agreement, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said, the agency will receive federal and state funding for the electrification of the rail corridor, as well as for a new signal and control system.
Dunn said 15 people spoke during the public comment period of the meeting, many of whom expressed concern about the plans for the high-speed rail line and other changes along the Caltrain right-of-way.
"One of the reoccurring themes that you heard was people near the right-of-way want to be involved in the process as we move forward," Dunn said.
The plan to run the high-speed rail line along the Peninsula has provoked sharp criticism in some cities including in Palo Alto, where hundreds of people packed a February meeting hosted by the rail authority to gather public input.
Dunn said electrification of the Caltrain system will also benefit high-speed rail because the two systems will be able to use the same wires, so "the infrastructure put in to work Caltrain could also be used by high-speed rail," Dunn said.
The agreement will also enable Caltrain to install "positive train control," an advanced system that prevents train-to-train collisions via signals and other controls.
The CHSRA had already approved the agreement at its meeting on March 5.
Under the agreement <http://caltrain.com/highspeedrail.html>, groups from both agencies will work to formulate a detailed organizational structure for the joint program, a plan for community outreach to residents, businesses and communities near the rail corridor, and determine the extent to which these Caltrain projects will be conducted jointly or solely by Caltrain.
The Joint Powers Board is comprised of three representatives each from Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, the three counties served by Caltrain.
Voter approval of Proposition 1A in November 2008 gave the California High-Speed Rail Authority money to jump-start the first phase of the high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The final plan calls for an 800-mile line running from Sacramento to San Diego.
[BATN: See also:
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