The Rail Passenger Association of California welcomes the decision of the CHSRA to construct north from Bakersfield to link with an electrified Caltrain at San Jose. At the same time money will be spent on the long overdue modernization of Los Angeles Union Station, especially permitting through services between the north and south of the region. Coupled with the removal of the capacity choking bottlenecks that prevent Metrolink and Surfliner from reaching their potential, in effect what will be created is two regional mobility systems which should tie together the planned and existing investments in subway, light rail and BART to create better choices for citizens in the most populated areas of the state.
In an ideal world we would like to see simultaneous construction of the link between the San Fernando Valley and Bakersfield. This could be a private enterprise project put out to the industry for proposals, perhaps for a “toll” railroad or some other form of joint venture. Absent that I have no doubt that southern California politicians will soon find a way to fund the missing link once they see how the “northerners” enjoy the benefits of swift, electric powered transportation.