Trump Delays Caltrain Electrification, Potentially Killing It

Today, Caltrain received word from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that a decision on whether to execute the pending $647 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) will be deferred until the Administration develops the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget.

Electrification will be the most transformative effort ever undertaken on the Caltrain Corridor. The project offers unique economic, environmental and mobility benefits that will have an impact across the country. Federal investment in this project will help create over 9,600 jobs in the Bay Area and spread throughout the nation in places like Salt Lake City, UT, Jacksonville, FL; Richmond, VA; Hudson, WI; Littleton, CO and more. It will create over $2.5 billion in economic value and address one of the region’s principal barriers to economic growth by eliminating over 619,000 daily vehicle miles from the region’s roadways.

I thought Trump is for infrastructure. Silly me…

How will it eliminate incremental vehicles from the road compared to existing service? If Caltrain is so critical and used, then fares should easily cover the upgrade.

I think lack of housing is a far larger barrier to economic growth. You can’t keep building 1 housing unit per 8 new jobs forever. At some point, you cant add more jobs because there’s nowhere for the people to live.

Why public transit doesn’t work… To achieve a 10 year payback on the $2B total project cost, it’d take $8.43/ride at 65k riders a day.

By that logic, why build roads at all then? We don’t collect any tolls on interstate. So the payoff time is infinite.

That’s exactly why we need governments. Some projects’ economic benefits is so spread out it’s hard to make a profit on. Same reason why we fund scientific research, defense and public universities.

You have to pay for the good some how. Why should 7M Bay Area people pay for something only 65,000/day use? Surely they can spend $2B in a way that benefits more people. They won’t do that though. They are pushing their agenda no matter how bad the economics or how few it benefits.

The decision is deferred, not denied yet.

Even if Fed denied fund, why can’t California invest in Caltrain? 600M is a drop in the bucket for the mighty Bay Area and the golden California.

Fed deferred the decision on funding. Nobody is prohibiting the Caltrain project. It’s just a money issue.

Public mass transit is useless for two income families. .Almost impossible for two people to find a place and jobs that can be coordinated to public transport to work, unless the house and jobs are all in downtown SF…Self driving cars is a better solution than mass transit…And the way things are going more likely to happen in the next 40 years…

1 Like

As someone who spent 5 years commuting on Caltrain, electrification has zero benefits to commuters. In fact, it creates more hassle during the upgrade. It’s not even good for environment…

The following is the priority list of what will make more people take trains

  1. Simple policy changes. For example, more non-stop trains, fewer stop-at-every-stupid-station trains. Allow more bikes. Reserved parking at stations. Ask conductors to check for tickets.
  2. Add more coaches to popular crowded trains…
  3. Subsidize Uber pool to stations, solve last mile problem
  4. Add more parking space at stations
  5. Run more trains during commute hours

In my list, electrification will appear at may be at #1280.

As you can see, the changes that really benefit people dont cost much money. They require existing staff to change the way they work. That’s why they dont get done. Caltain wants big pile of money to add to payroll. They care jack about commuters.


At this pace, with the Twitler in chief, going on a campaign trail again, don’t expect anything done. No FEMA, no words from the so called president talking to people affected by any calamity.
We are missing a real president in the white house. Well, at least people in those zones would be happy to have playdough to play with.

Electric trains are faster to accelerate and decelerate and less polluting. Part of the money goes to upgrading the signaling system so more trains can be moving at any one time. Also Caltrain is sharing the tracks with freight trains now. It’s not just snapping fingers to get more frequent services. We need to build more tracks.

California pays more taxes to federal government and gets less back, compared to flyover states. Killing Caltrain projects is totally out of spite. Maybe we should just stop sending our money to Washington to start with.


[quote=“manch, post:11, topic:1707, full:true”]
Electric trains are faster to accelerate and decelerate and less polluting. [/quote]
Do you know what’s #1 reason for delays on Caltrain? it’s not speed of train. It’s people committing suicide. Do you know why? because it takes 1 hour to clean up the mess. And, then caltrain crew start running all trains local. Their disaster management skills are worse than a 4-year old who knows how to clean milk spills.

Do you know what’s #2 reason? It’s loading/unloading time.

Diesel trains are already much less polluting than car. If pollution is really a concern, we should focus on increasing the ridership. That’s big bang for buck.

CA receives $0.99 for every dollar it gives. It hardly matters. On top of that, it gets many intangible benefits, for example it does not have to maintain its own army.

I have no way of knowing that. But, if I were in charge, I’d certainly kill electrification and spend money on the things I mentioned.

1 Like

The funding delay was requested by state politicians concerned that this project, which is connected to the bullet train project, shouldn’t go forward until a thorough audit of bullet train spending has been conducted. California has no right to expect the rest of the nation to pay for it’s debacles.

1 Like

Roads are funded by gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. About half of those fees are diverted to public transit which is used on a regular bases by about 5% of the population.

1 Like

How about South Carolina? North Dakota? What rights do they have to have us pay for them? Speaking of freeloaders.

Gas taxes has not increased since Reagan. It can’t even keep up with maintaining existing roads, much less building new ones. All states requested and received federal funds in building new roads.


Not true. Look at the gas tax history.
Our gas taxes are among the highest in the nation.

And as for those “investments” in other states what is being counted as taxpayer “investment” there?
And in any case, what does that have to do with wasting taxpayer money instead of investing it?

The government is so smart one group needs gas taxes to fund itself. Another group passes rules forcing cars to use less gas. Another passes rules encouraging hybrids and electric cars which use less/no gas. Yup. We can count of those people to solve our problems.

1 Like

Who is the government? Is there any way to find out if contracts are already in place? People will get laid off? Can any body tell me.

This country is going to the chitters. How can we expect anything to be in order, you know, priorities like visiting natural disaster areas, not for the photo opportunity but for expressing condolences to the families of those dying in CA or any other state due to this type of disasters, when our dear liar in chief is already tired, playing golf every weekend, and campaigning for his second term just about 3 years and 11 months from ending his term, and…telling people something terrible occurred in Sweden?:scream:

Speaking of wasting our taxpayer’s money. It is being used in something more important, we need to pay for the $500K a day our dear first lady is costing us when she should be living in the white house. And those pesky golf vacations your dear Fuhrer is enjoying in…his own place! instead of allowing other businesses to prosper with his visit! Cha-chin!

Some people just don’t know how to spread wealth, or opening jobs every time the president comes by. Darn liberals!

Maybe we should as Goldman Sachs how to get us out of the problem, they are “getting away with murder folks” as Trump said. You forgot how mean and evil they were for supporting Hillary?
Oh, wait! Don’t tell me Trump hired them?
My bad…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

1 Like

When I first moved here, I was baffled as to why caltrain wasn’t more robust, with more express trains. Then someone pointed out to me that caltrain runs through the backyards of the richest people in SV (atherton and PA). The NIMBYs on the peninsula block any plans to improve caltrain. Don’t count on any changes in the future. Not gonna happen.


Seattle did it right. One rich guy (Paul Allen) bought an entire area. You can only object to zoning changes if you own within x distance of proposed development. Guess what, only he owned land within that distance. Miles of land was rezoned from industrial with low height limits to mid rise office and housing. The entire area was gentrified in about 10 years. Now more and more tech companies are moving in. SF is too stupid to do anything like that. They’re too busy trying to figure out how to punish tech companies for being successful.