In some potentially good news from the Beltway, a new congressional budget deal has earmarked $100 million to help pay for electrifying the Peninsula's Caltrain corridor. If approved by federal officials, the money would be a lifesaver for the long-sought $1.96 billion upgrade to the much-used transit line.
In the works for more than 15 years, the Caltrain electrification project was due to receive $647 million in federal grants, but that money was suddenly halted in February by President Donald Trump's appointees to the Federal Transit Administration. The Peninsula's local, state and federal officials were incensed by the delay, describing it as a political move meant to torpedo the California High Speed Rail Project.
The $100 million earmark is a far cry from the $647 million originally planned for the Caltrain project, but it was still received as a good sign by local advocates. Adina Levin of the group Friends of Caltrain pointed out the funding showed bipartisan support and perhaps a willingness to provide the full sum in the future. The funding would still needed approval from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, she said.