I was recently appointed as Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a new leadership role that strengthens my ability to support projects that fill the transportation needs of residents across Santa Clara County. As an MTC commissioner, I worked hard to secure funding for the revamped interchanges on Highway 101 at Tully, Capitol Expressway, and Yerba Buena. I am happy to see these projects, which I initiated over a decade ago, are nearing completion. Now on the horizon are two more very important projects that will greatly benefit the county: BART to San Jose and the electrification of Caltrain.Bay Area Rapid Transit
The BART Silicon Valley Project is a 16-mile extension from the southern part of Alameda County to San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, that will be completed in phases, with service expected to begin in 2017. With federal, state and local funding in place, site preparations for the Milpitas and Berryessa stations are under way in Phase 1. In the short term, the Silicon Valley Transportation Authority estimates the BART extension will add an estimated 18,000 jobs over the course of the project, a tremendous boost to the local economy. In the long term, the BART extension is expected to serve 23,000 daily passengers from the Milpitas and Berryessa stations, providing relief from the congestion and air pollution created by the all too often bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Interstate 880 and Interstate 680 corridors. While VTA continues to work on plans for the second six-mile phase, including a five-mile tunnel through downtown San Jose, this part of the extension has not been funded. As the Vice Chair, and the future chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in 2015, I can work to assure that BART funding is approved by the MTC. I am visiting Washington, D.C., in March to lobby for funding for this important phase of the project. Electrification of CaltrainAs a voting member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, I also cast a key vote in support of the electrification of the Caltrain rail system, which will result in a faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly rail system for the benefit of riders, commuters and residents.
The project will replace the aging cars and diesel locomotives with modern and efficient self-propelled electric cars. Electric trains can stop and start faster than the current diesel trains, which will reduce the travel time between San Jose and San Francisco by 13 percent and produce 90 percent less air pollution. The electrification project was planned as part of the High Speed Rail project, but it was determined that the funds could be used to provide these benefits now. The project will use a combination of high-speed rail bond money and local, regional and state transportation funds.If you would like more information on either of these projects, please contact me at 408-299-5030 or email@example.com.