Morris Brown faults Caltrain for agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding (Daily Journal May 9: "Caltrain MOU is a disaster”) with the High-Speed Rail Authority and eight local governments to provide $1.5 billion for electrification and positive train control.
Brown preferred the original agreement that would have provided for two separate high-speed rail tracks, making for a four-track alignment and grade separations at the numerous road intersections.
The MOU is based on a "blended approach” that would retain today’s two-track configuration, helping to reduce the price tag for the total project by $30 billion. Yet I am sympathetic, as a daily Caltrain rider, to Brown’s point. In fact, on April 14, my train was delayed a full hour after it swiped a motorist who hadn’t cleared the tracks at Ravenswood Avenue in Brown’s Menlo Park.
I thank the HSRA for investing in commuter rail corridors in the Bay Area and the South Coast, rather than sticking with their original business plan and spending all their funds in the Central Valley.
I hope Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto recognize the importance of improving Caltrain and drop their law suits against HSRA to ensure that electrification funds flow as soon as possible. I support Brown’s goal of separating Caltrain’s numerous grade crossings. I would love to see the aforementioned cities help fund those projects rather than attorneys’ fees so I need not worry about the train hitting motorists who fail to clear the tracks.