By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart
The San Mateo County Transit District is joining a collection of Bay Area transportation leaders in support of Stand Up for Transportation Day – a national campaign to draw public attention to the importance of long-term transportation infrastructure funding.
“Millenials are riding transit in growing numbers and we need to give them the improvements they need to keep them off the roads for years to come,” said Jim Hartnett, Caltrain’s executive director. “In the Bay Area that means modernizing and improving aging systems like Caltrain to keep up with the demand for expanded services and providing cleaner, more environmentally-friendly buses and rail cars. Now is the time for Congress to fund a long-term transportation bill and support our country’s economic growth through access to high-quality public transportation.”
A special video has been created highlighting the importance of transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please watch and share this video using the #StandUp4Transportation or #SU4T to show your support.
FEDERAL FUNDING IS NEEDED
Federal funding is a critical component of the Transit District’s long-term capital program. Without these funds, it is nearly impossible to modernize and replace aging infrastructure and equipment. Caltrain’s rail corridor is more than 150 years old, with many rail bridges that are nearly 100 years old.
Caltrain has received $67M in federal funding thus far to replace a number of the major system bridges, including:
- Jerrold – San Francisco County (funded and completed)
- Quint – San Francisco County (funded and starts construction later in the year)
- San Mateo Bridges – San Mateo County (funded and under construction)
- Los Gatos – Santa Clara County (in environmental/final design; not all funding has been budgeted and received)
- Guadalupe – Santa Clara County (in preliminary engineering; not all funding has been budgeted and received)
Additional federal funding is needed to complete work on replacement of both the Los Gatos and Guadalupe bridges.
Caltrain’s peak-hour commute service operates at or beyond capacity. The dramatic growth would not have been possible without federal investment in our Baby Bullet Express Service in the early 2000s. But further investment is critically needed to bridge a funding gap of roughly $450M in the Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) Program. CalMod will electrify the system making critically-needed capacity available for continued ridership growth and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the corridor.
Similarly, in 2014, SamTrans relied on federal funds to help replace aging diesel buses with modern hybrid vehicles. The bus agency will be called upon to modernize its remaining fleet over the next decade. But without a long-term capital funding bill, the costs for these investments fall on local transit districts and come at the expense of new services and programs.
The San Mateo County Transit District is proud to stand with its regional transit partners in asking Congress to act now to pass a long-term transportation bill.
It’s time to show your support. To learn more, visit www.standup4transportation.org.