Caltrain's survival: Is it high-speed rail or bust?


While Menlo Park and Atherton contest in court the state's decision to run its high-speed-rail system along the Caltrain corridor, Caltrain officials are claiming that high-speed-rail may be the only way to save the commuter rail system.

In exchange for use of the Caltrain right-of-way, the state would pay to run both high-speed-rail and Caltrain engines on an electrified system. The commuter rail agency maintains that a switch from diesel to electric would provide more revenue, and may be the only way to keep the system alive.

"Without an ability to expand capacity and attract new riders with improved service, the system's structural deficit will continue to increase and will eventually threaten the entire Caltrain system," the agency wrote in a press release issued April 23 -- three days after Menlo Park's City Council voted to join Atherton in petitioning to re-open a lawsuit over the planned high-speed-rail route.

With both the number of riders and the amount of contributions from regional governments dwindling, Caltrain is contemplating major service cuts, including the possible elimination of everything but commute-hour trains.

But even with electrification, Caltrain is projecting a $26.5 million deficit within 10 years, a figure that represents about one-third of its projected annual operating budget in 10 years.

Caltrain estimates that electrification would cost over $1.5 billion, a tab that the high-speed-rail authority would pick up.

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Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

The timing for the question is apropos when the rich are about to be investigated and the 'powerfilled' individuals locally facing possible corruption charges.
There will be a HSR no matter what.

Like this comment
Posted by Lee Weaver
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

Mr. Gordon:

Have you seen the latest news on your beloved HSR?

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm

HSR is another example of what is wrong with our initiative process. The voters vote in things they think will be great with NO FUNDING SOURCE. Then the legislature is left to figure out how to pay for these "toys." In my opinion, no initiative should be allowed on the ballot unless the funding source is clearly identified and defined. I suspect when the voters are actually forced to acknowledge they will actually have to PAY for their toys, there will be far fewer of them voted into existence.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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