An all-star cast of elected officials led by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning joined dozens of federal, state and Bay Area transportation and business leaders at the Millbrae Caltrain station for a groundbreaking celebration to kick off a four-year project to electrify the 49-mile Peninsula rail corridor from San Jose to San Francisco. MTC over the years has provided more than $350 million for the nearly $2 billion initiative, which will allow Caltrain to convert from its current diesel locomotives to high-performance electric multiple unit (EMU) trains.
MTC Chair and Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie was among the numerous dignitaries wielding gold-plated shovels as part of the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was emceed by state Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore and former MTC Commissioner Kevin Mullin. Other participants included Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi, Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier; state Senators Scott Wiener and Jerry Hill; state Assembly members Phil Ting and Marc Berman; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Don Horsley; and Redwood City Councilmember and Caltrain Board Chair Jeff Gee as well as Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman; Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino; and San Mateo County Economic Development Association President and CEO Rosanne Foust.
The faster EMU trains will allow Caltrain to operate as many as six trains per hour in each direction between the Tamien station in San Jose and the San Francisco terminal at Fourth and King Streets. MTC is working with Caltrain and other partners to secure additional funding that eventually would allow for extending the electrified rail corridor another 1.3 miles north to the soon-to-open Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.
“Electrification of the Caltrain corridor has been a top regional priority for more than two decades,” explained Mackenzie. “This is a milestone worthy of celebration as we turn our focus to extending the corridor to the Transbay Transit Center.”
Caltrain’s conversion from diesel to electric power will reduce both noise and greenhouse gas emissions. The electrification project also is expected to help generate thousands of jobs in the Bay Area and among manufacturers and suppliers across the country.
“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.”