For nearly 15 years, environmentalists have supported the electrification of Caltrain. Caltrain modernization offers much more – cleaner, quieter, faster service that will draw thousands more people off the highways and roads of our community, out of their cars and onto the train.
From an environmental perspective, Caltrain modernization will reap tremendous benefits, particularly to air quality. The modernization program will reduce emissions along the Peninsula rail corridor by a stunning 90 percent. Improving our region’s air quality has obvious long-term health benefits. We know that poor air quality leads to asthma, heart disease, and even cancer. By lowering diesel emissions, we can reduce childhood asthma and other diseases, which means lower health care costs and a better, healthier, standard of living.
Modernization will have ripple effects beyond our region’s air quality. Electrification will allow Caltrain to operate more service to more stations, drawing as many as 30,000 more passengers each weekday away from our congested highways, thus reducing harmful emissions. Electrified service will also lower energy consumption by 64%. All of these benefits will help address climate change, and will help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Modernizing Caltrain will support more transit-oriented development – walkable, liveable communities effectively and efficiently served by a core mass transit system. The Peninsula’s downtown areas will be revitalized, and real estate values will be strengthened. Real estate values for homes near the rail corridor will also benefit through improved air quality, reduced noise and vibration resulting from Caltrain electrification.
Improved air quality and health, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, strengthened real estate values, and revitalization of our transportation corridors – these are benefits that are within reach now with the early investment in the modernization of Caltrain’s corridor.
We urge our lawmakers in Sacramento to act now to improve the health of our region.
Fund the Caltrain modernization program.