Transit Important To The Growth Of Santa Clara County
For the last 12 years, I have served on the boards of two agencies vital to the transportation needs of this County—Caltrain and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). With the economy improving and major new developments underway, well-planned public transit will be crucial to keeping our residents moving.
Electrification of Caltrain is one of my top priorities. It would replace the current heavy diesel engines with lighter trains that can speed up and slow down much more quickly, which requires less space between trains. This will allow for more trains in the schedule, meeting the rising demands in ridership. Recently, Caltrain reached an important agreement with the California High Speed Rail Authority to provide $600 million for upgrades to the existing rail lines.
Bringing BART to Santa Clara County will also help the region. Last year, VTA received a $900 million from the Federal Transit Administration for the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project. Once train service begins, the 10-mile extension from the Alameda County border to the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose will serve 23,000 average daily passengers. Planning for the 5.1 mile-long second phase that will tunnel under downtown San Jose is now underway.
Construction of the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara will also bring increased need for transit options. There is a massive Light Rail Efficiency Project underway that will speed up the light rail system, increase service hours, introduce a new line of service, and expand express service. The project will prepare the County for seamless, high-quality service connections to BART, while servicing planned growth throughout the area.
In addition to light rail expansion, VTA is currently working with the 49ers on other transit options. From additional bus service and shuttles, to special game day trains on the ACE and Capitol Corridor train systems serving the Great America station on Lafayette, a number of transit options are being developed to ease game day traffic.