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Report

Design Snapshot — Bay Area’s High Speed Rail Plans: Advancing 21st Century Regional Transportation

Mark Muro and Sarah Rahman

A collaboration of Bay Area political leaders and transportation officials have a developed a $1.9 billion
proposal for ARRA’s high speed rail funding to help accelerate the arrival of new, fast, 21st century train
service from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The plans focuses on the upgrades and technologies along
the greater Bay area corridor that would not only pave the way for eventual high speed rail service but
also enhance the safety, capacity, and performance of existing regional commuter train operations.

California’s ARRA proposal for regional high
speed rail comes after more than a decade of
planning and discussion around a grand vision to
connect San Francisco and Los Angeles with
new, fast train service. With the availability of
federal stimulus dollars, regional transportation
leaders gained momentum in coming to
consensus on some concrete decisions about
initial investments to advance high-speed rail in
the Greater Bay Area. They put forth a $3.4
billion plan for a series of projects between San
Francisco and San Jose to electrify the rail lines
of the regional commuter service, Caltrain,
upgrade key stations, modernize train-control
equipment, and better separate train and
vehicular traffic. To cover project costs, a $1.9
billion ARRA application would leverage
additional local resources, including a $9 billion bond measure approved by Bay Area voters for high
speed rail.

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