Caltrain asserts itself in race for federal funds

California High-Speed Rail Authority needs Caltrain's right of way for the Peninsula segment but lags in approvals, threatening early funding

The two agencies responsible for building the Peninsula section of the high-speed-rail system now find themselves in a competitive race for federal-stimulus funds, Caltrain's chief spokesman told the Palo Alto City Council Monday night.

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Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

Great idea!

Palo Alto City Council, please support Caltrain's proposed amendments to Senate Bill 965.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Yea, much more useful that the pie in the sky HSR!

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

If Caltrain received capital development funds of its own to electrify and grade separate, it would have no use or need for HSR at all. However, there are many who object to HSR on the Caltrain corridor, but are happy with Caltrain's grade separations and electrification.

Beware. What's bad for the pot, is bad for the kettle, to confuse an old saying. First of all, Caltrain can upgrade itself with bells and whistles all it wishes and still fail to be an effective public mass transit commuter service.

They are severely mismanaged. They are personnel top-heavy and those costs are far too high.
Their subsidy reductions, while now fairly common across all the transit operators, still should have been anticipated. Caltrain has been a structural deficit mess for years.

They claim, counterintuitively, that electrification and EMUs will sharply increase their ridership over current levels and reduce their budget deficits. That reasoning is as absurd as it is astounding.
I consider it evidence of incompetence to posit such an argument.

However, if their cries of WOLF are merely fraudulent scare tactics, since it is they who are among the wolves, then it verifies their corruption no less than that of their colleagues at the CHSRA.

What underlies their hardware upgrade aspirations is indicative of their failure to understand that their current "business model" is totally incorrect. Contrary to their belief, they are not in the railroad business; they are in the public service transit business. They don't seem to know that.

More capital development funds, from ARRA stimulus pools or elsewhere, will not improve their service or our satisfaction with them.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on May 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

Mr. Engel, an electrified Caltrain vastly improves the lives of residents near the tracks, by reducing noise and air pollution. In addition, for riders that want weekend and late night service, smaller EMUs can be run, vs the large locomotives.

Given that you live adjacent to the tracks, its very surprising that you take such a hostile approach, to such a potentially positive move.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The railroads are in the public service transit business not by choice but because the alternative was confiscation of their property. Railroads that don't make a profit are sold for scrap or bike trails. I used to read the list of fallen flags in railfan mags, I no longer bother. Keep screwing over the RRs and soon the Roaring Camp and Big Trees.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

[continued] will be the only railroad left.

Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2010 at 9:03 am

Mr Engel,

Caltrain is 2nd best operating agency in the Bay Area for cost of operations vs. revenue (40%). Only BART (50%) exceeds Caltrain in operating costs versus revenue. It is operating better than SF Muni and 3-4 times better than VTA (15%), AC Transit, GG Transit, and CC Transit. So it is misleading to characterize the agency in that light. No public transit agency operates without subsidies. Only Caltrain has no dedicated subsidy source. Bridge tolls and property taxes subsidize BART. Thai is not the case of Caltrain. Within the entire state, Caltrain is one of the 5 best operating systems in this category.

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