Federal Transit Administration officials have pressed pause on a project that would electrify Caltrain’s Peninsula rail corridor. The Trump administration announced that it would hold back $647 million in Federal funding in order for the new Administration to review the project. The project, supported by the Obama Administration, is one of many rail projects in California that have been a source of political tension. Advocates for the proposal have begun an online effort to urge the FTA to move forward.
There are those who feel that it is prudent for the new Administration to take time to review the project and others who see this as adding politics to a process that is intended to be merit based. In either case, this will be the new Administration’s first major decision on a project of regional significance.
Originally pitched more than 15 years ago, the project to would be a dramatic upgrade to a transit system used by more than 47,000 daily riders on average. The existing 51-mile Caltrain line stretching from San Jose to San Francisco is running at full capacity with diesel-powered engines. According to the project sponsors, a new electrified system could reportedly run about 20 percent more trains and eventually reduce up to 97 percent of emissions.