The letter, in its final form, will be presented to the board at the Monday, October 8 JPB meeting. (note new time) It was indicated that MTC staff would accept the letter after the Sept 30 cut off date.
----------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM 9 September 6, 2001 PRELIMINARY DRAFT PENINSULA CORRIDOR JOINT POWERS BOARD The Honorable Sharon J. Brown, Chair Metropolitan Transportation Commission Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter 101 Eight Street Oakland, California 94607 Dear Chairperson Brown: Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft 2001 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for the Bay Area. The members of the Peninsula Corridor joint Powers Board (JPB) recognize that the RTP is key to setting long-term transportation strategies investments. The JPB supports MTC’s continued commitment to maintaining our existing transit system by giving priority to funding asset replacement and rehabilitation. To ensure that the 25-year baseline to maintain and operate Caltrain service is accurate, we request your staff reconcile the $747.6 million shortfall in capital costs shown in the RTP Project Notebook with the $966.0 million in total costs contained in the submittals from the San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara county’s Congestion Management Agencies. The JPB appreciates the importance the draft RTP places on improvements to the Caltrain system. The JPB has devoted extensive effort to identifying a strategy to maximize the public’s investment in this key rail transportation corridor. This strategy has been translated into specific projects and programs through our Rapid Rail Plan and Caltrain Express project. The travel time and frequency enhancements resulting from Caltrain Express service and electrification are supported by enhanced service from San Jose to Gilroy and extensions to downtown San Francisco and Alameda County. It is critical to Caltrain’s success that these projects move forward in an integrated fashion. In apporving the Caltrain Rapid Rail Plan (Resolution No. 1999-27), the Joint Powers Board determined that converting Caltrain’s existing diesel mode to electrification is a top priority. It is therefore appropriate that the RTP includes Caltrain electrification from San Francisco to Gilroy as a Track 1 project. Further definition of the project is under study as part of the project’s Environmental Assessment/Environmental Impact Report. Resolution No. 1999-27 also designates the City and County of San Francisco as the lead agency for any downtown extension of Caltrain. The city has taken the lead in the preparation of the update to the environmental impact assessment and creation of the Transbay Terminal Joint Powers Agency, a regional body with JPB representation. Both the environmental study and the new JPA recognize that the Transbay Terminal is an integral part of extending Caltrain downtown. The JPB views the Caltrain extension and the reconstruction of the Transbay Terminal as two components of a single project. The RTEP application and financial plan prepared by the San Francisco Transportation Authority should be the basis for the project’s inclusion in the RTP. The growing Caltrain service to Gilroy is another important component of the system that is included in the RTP. Resolution 1999-27 reiterates the JPB’s support for its expansion. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) continues to take the lead in improvements to this element of the Caltrain line. The JBP has embarked on the Caltrain Express(a.k.a. Baby Bullet) project to significantly enhance service with the addition of passing (third and fourth) tracks, modifications to stations, and the addition of rolling stock. Phase 1, scheduled for completion in FY 2003, will reduce running time from San Jose to San Francisco and increase the number of weekday trains from 80 to 120. Planning for Phase 1 implementation has enabled the identification of subsequent improvements to further enhance Caltrain capacity and operational flexibility. Phase 2 of these improvements should be included as part of the Blueprint as a component of the program to continue Caltrain upgrades. Rail service in the Dumbarton Corridor is a project that has received support from San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. The JPB has indicated a willingness to operate this service once a funding plan is in place. Inclusion of Dumbarton Rail Service in the RTP Blueprint is appropriate and will facilitate the realization of this project. The JPB looks forward to working with the MTC on improvement to the Caltrain system to realize the full potential of the rail corridor for the peninsula and the region. Sincerely, Michael J. Scanlon Executive Directory