Future Of High Speed Rail Without Caltrain Electrification — KPCC Radio Discussion

Statewide_System_2016California’s high speed rail system was supposed to rely on electrified service between San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco.  But with the Trump Administration putting the brakes on the grant for Caltrain (peninsula commuter rail) to be converted from diesel to electric motors, people are wondering how it will now affect high speed rail.

To discuss the matter, I spoke on KPCC Radio’s “AirTalk” program in Los Angeles yesterday.  I was joined by:

  • Ralph Vartabedian, L.A. Times national correspondent; he has been following the story
  • Meghan McCarty, KPCC reporter covering commuting and mobility issues

You can listen to the audio on the Airtalk page.

The bottom line: high speed rail can still continue without Caltrain electrification, but it will stop at San Jose.  Of course, it’s not slated to arrive there until 2025, which gives the Bay Area and the California High Speed Rail Authority a fair amount of time to find alternative sources of funding if the Trump Administration officially torpedoes the project.

And in the meantime, the system will be relying on funding from cap-and-trade auctions, which recently haven’t gone so well.  All in all, trying days ahead for high speed rail proponents.