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Caltrain board updates MOU with high-speed rail authority

Late last week, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) unanimously adopted an updated memorandum of understanding with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to "lay the foundation" for Caltrain's modernization toward a blended system that will enable high-speed rail to operate between San Jose and San Francisco.

The MOU specifically addresses project investments that include $705 million provided by Senate Bill 1029 to upgrade existing rail lines and improve train performance through electrification of the Caltrain corridor, installation of an advanced signal system and the purchase of new electrified rail vehicles, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement.

"This agreement is particularly meaningful because it ensures local interests and concerns are well represented," said JPB Chairman Ken Yeager. "The removal of the four-track system from this MOU, the confirmation of JPB's ownership and authority over decision-making on its corridor, and the commitment to corridor electrification is compatible with the needs of the blended system."

Caltrain officials anticipate the authority to approve the MOU at its April meeting. The authority has been involved in the MOU's preparation and is supportive of the blended system, Caltrain officials said.

The modernization work is expected to be completed by 2019. Caltrain officials expect to finalize the electrification environmental impact report during the next 18 months.

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More News from 3/11/2013