Friday, April 03, 2009

Caltrain OKs agreement with state High Speed Rail Authority

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The Caltrain Board Thursday unanimously approved an agreement with the California High Speed Rail Authority to establish an initial organizational framework where the authority and Caltrain will engage as partners in planning, design, and construction of improvements along the Caltrain corridor to be shared by both Caltrain and a portion of the state’s planned $44 billion, 700-mile HSR network.

The agreement will allow the parties to incorporate high speed rail in the Caltrain corridor on a phased basis.

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"Community outreach is an extremely important part of this agreement," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage, who is chair of the Caltrain board and also serves on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, in a statement.  "As we move forward, there will be many opportunities for people to voice their opinions.  I would encourage everyone to participate in the process."

Since the ultimate configuration of the system has yet to be determined, references to a four-track system were deleted from the agreement before it was approved. The agreement states, "The Caltrain corridor will consist of a multiple track, grade-separated high speed rail system."

Caltrain had voiced some concern that its needs wouldn’t be protected adequately if HSR was established. Similar concerns, along with other dissent, have been voiced by some of the communities Caltrain serves. Caltrain provides service linking San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy, Calif.