San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose – Leading business associations, representing well over 1,000 major employers from San Francisco to San Jose, today applauded the Revised Business Plan that was released by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The new Business Plan includes two commitments of critical importance to Bay Area employers and communities:
First, the Authority will provide an early investment to electrify the Caltrain system before the end of the decade. This long-envisioned project will deliver near-term benefits to employers and employees, allowing faster and more frequent Caltrain service. The corridor served by Caltrain is the shining star of the Bay Area and California economy, and the improved mobility provided by an electrified Caltrain will support the continued health of this critical jobs engine.
Second, as additional improvements are made to support future high speed trains, the Authority will follow the “blended” (shared-track) concept. As a less-costly option to bring high speed rail up the Peninsula, the blended approach will help achieve the business associations’ desire to bring high speed rail to the Bay Area, and to its ultimate terminus at the Transbay Transit Center, at the earliest possible date.
Business association leaders offered the following comments on the release of the Revised Business Plan:
Carl Guardino – President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
“High-Speed Rail is the right move for California’s mobility and economy, but the revised Business Plan takes it to a new level by adding early investment to electrify Caltrain. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group applauds the decision to embrace a ‘blended approach’ for HSR and Caltrain along the Peninsula. Maintaining and improving the Caltrain commuter rail system is a high priority for our 365-member companies and their employees.”
Jim Wunderman – President and CEO, Bay Area Council
“The high speed rail business plan released today isn’t just a revision, it’s a game-changer. We’re still on course to build statewide high speed rail for the 21st Century, but now we’re also going to deliver near-term benefits for Bay Area residents by electrifying Caltrain within this decade. Electrifying Caltrain now is a smart move that benefits both the Bay Area and the statewide high speed rail program.”
Rosanne Foust – President and CEO, San Mateo Economic Development Association (Samceda)
“With the number of start-up companies springing up in the Caltrain Corridor between San Francisco and San Jose, maintaining the economic vitality of our region depends on meeting the mobility needs of our workers and employers now and in the future. The benefits of Caltrain electrification – increased capacity, faster and more frequent service – will meet and exceed these needs, ensuring that the world’s most innovative companies can start here, and can stay here as they grow and add jobs.”
Jim Lazarus – Senior Vice President, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
“The new high speed rail business plan will jump-start long planned regional transit improvements, starting with electrifying Caltrain by 2019. Now that there’s a commitment to electrify Caltrain, we can start planning how to build out in both directions: first to the Transbay Transit Center, and then from San Jose southwards to connect to the new tracks in the Central Valley. “
Larry Buckmaster – President and CEO, Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce
“What’s so significant is that the High Speed Rail Authority genuinely listened to Peninsula communities, and the revised business plan reflects exactly what we asked for: a blended system, and early investment to electrify Caltrain. It feels like a new, fresh start, and I’m so excited that we’re now just a few short years away from fulfilling the decades-old dream of electrifying Caltrain.”
Matthew R. Mahood – President and CEO, San Jose & Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
“The early investment for electrification of Caltrain included in the revised High Speed Rail Business Plan is a great economic development opportunity for the greater Silicon Valley region. Electrification of Caltrain will significantly enhance one of the Bay Area’s most relied upon public transit service by providing more frequent, faster and stable service for Silicon Valley businesses and their employees. “