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Caltrain nets $211 million for electrification project


Caltrain's board last week adopted an agreement calling for investing an additional $211 million in the San Francisco-area commuter railroad's modernization program.

The seven-party pact increases funding commitments from Caltrain's state and local partners, including an additional $113 million from the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The need for additional funding was identified in 2014, when the project's budget was updated from 2008 cost estimates, Caltrain officials said in a press release. Approval of the new agreement paves the way for the board to begin awarding contracts for the project, which calls for equipping the rail corridor with electrification infrastructure and replacing most of the system's diesel trains with electric units.

Caltrain plans to award contracts in July and introduce electrified service in 2020. In February, President Barack Obama's administration allocated $72 million in prior year funding to the project, and the president requested in his 2017 federal budget that Congress provide an additional $125 million. The funds are part of a larger $647 million request for a federal full funding grant agreement that's expected to be finalized this year.

"Our region, along with our federal and state partners, has demonstrated a deep commitment to this project," said Jim Hartnett, Caltrain's executive director. "The Caltrain Modernization Program is the most transformative project this corridor has ever undertaken."

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