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Steel Wheels, 3rd Quarter 2021 Issue Available Online

Download the pdf of Steel Wheels, 3rd Quarter 2021 by clicking here.

In this issue:

  • Hydrogen and battery-electric rail propulsion
  • Dumbarton rail corridor
  • Amtrak dining
  • Amtrak to Glacier Park, group trip report
  • RailPAC California infrastructure priorities
  • Arizona News
  • Nevada News
  • RailPAC board member Marcia Johnston remembered
  • and more!

Amtrak Long Distance, Bay Area, CalSTA TIRCP, Caltrain, Central Coast, Coachella/Imperial Valleys, Commentary, Editorials, Electrification, High Speed Rail, LOSSAN, Metrolink/SCCRA, Rail Technology, San Diego County, San Francisco, San Joaquin

RailPAC submits public comment letter on California Transportation Plan 2050

The California Transportation Plan (CTP) 2050 is the “state’s long-range transportation plan that establishes an aspirational vision that articulates strategic goals, policies, and recommendations to improve multimodal mobility and accessibility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions”:

Read RailPAC’s letter of public comment on the CTP 2050 public review draft by clicking here.

Bay Area, Caltrain, Commentary, San Francisco, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County

Caltrain Measure RR

To our readers residing and registered to vote anywhere within San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties,

Caltrain needs your support.

On the November 2020 ballot, there will be a measure to provide dedicated funding for Caltrain on the ballot known as Measure RR. Unlike BART, Caltrain has never had a dedicated funding source, which means it must go hat in hand to the three counties for funding every year.

The Caltrain service is an essential component of the Bay Area’s regional rapid transit network. Since the line was taken over from the State, Caltrain has never had dedicated funding. The bulk of its funding has come from fares, with the remaining public funding from the three-county partner transit agencies making voluntary contributions. The lack of dedicated funding has resulted in periodic financial crises, which is no way to run an essential part of the region’s transportation network. 

Dedicated stable funding should enable Caltrain to continue operating through the current COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, dedicated funding would enable the high level of service envisioned in the Caltrain business plan service vision — better all-day, all-week service for commuting and leisurely trips as well as better connections with other local and regional services.

Caltrain’s financial position is dire. A shutdown is a real possibility. Before COVID-19 disrupted the economy, Caltrain carried four freeway lanes worth of cars. Those cars would be dumped back onto the highways and streets once the pandemic eases. Longer term, the improvements outlined in the current business plan to be funded by Measure RR would remove an additional two lanes of car traffic on highways.

While many consider a sales tax inequitable, the Caltrain board has taken action to approve unprecedented policies supporting equity and connectivity. These policies would be implemented and funded by the tax, with goals to improve the racial and income diversity of Caltrain’s ridership by providing affordable.

In order to achieve these changes, your vote along with two-thirds of voters in the three counties combined for Measure RR is critical. Vote “yes” on Measure RR this November.

-Steve Roberts, RailPAC President