Dear Board Members and Local Policy Leaders,Friends of Caltrain are glad to see that Caltrain and High Speed Rail are updating the Memorandum ofUnderstanding, bringing it in line with the current reality of the blended system.Here are comments for the Memorandum of Understanding to foster the most constructive cooperation,maximize support from local communities, and deliver the most effective rail service when the projects arecomplete.1) Caltrain should be the lead agencyThe staff memo for the Caltrain Joint Powers Board and the HSRA recommended that Caltrain be thelead agency for electrification and positive train control, but for HSRA to be the lead agency for furtherimprovements such as passing tracks.Instead, Caltrain should be the lead agency for work on the Caltrain corridor. With Marian Leesleadership, Caltrain has done a good job at rebuilding trust on the corridor following the debacle of HighSpeed Rails high-handed outreach efforts. High Speed Rail does not currently have the trust of localcommunities, and it would be very greatly preferable for the environmental work to be done by Caltrain.In addition, for reasons of safety, Caltrain should play the role of project manager for construction work onthe Caltrain corridor.If Caltrain needs financial and/or technical support to be able to serve this role the parties and fundingpartners should negotiate a suitable arrangement.2) Clarify ownershipThe MOU should clarify that Caltrain continues to own the railroad right of way and fixtures includingpassing tracks.4) Work together to maximize blended system capacity.The decision to implement a blended system imposes constraints on the capacity of the corridor.Effective design and collaboration in the near term will help optimize the capacity of the blended system.The parties will work together to design, fund and implement improvements that maximize the longtermoperational capacity of a blended system, including: ● common facilities to run any train on any platform ● multi-modal station access and vehicle parking ● station design facilitating convenient customer access ● traffic control operated jointly by both parties during operation of the blended systemDesign options that materially affect ridership scenarios will be analyzed in Environmental Impactanalysis.
When the parties identify cost-effective investments that will maximize the long term operational capacityof a blended system, the parties will work together within the framework of the MTC funding MOU toidentify funding sources for these improvements.5) Clarify the items required to deliver blended operationsThe staff memo to JPB and HSRA says that the parties will “develop an organizational framework todeliver the early investment projects and continue planning for a blended system.”This provision in the memorandum of understanding should itemize specific elements, including ● responsibility and principles determining share of maintenance and operating costs during blended operations ● trackage rights and track usage fees, if this is the method under which High Speed Rail will operate under the blended system ● responsibility for schedule and dispatching of trains, including cost sharing for these functionsThese parameters affect the financial operating characteristics of High Speed Rail and should be includedin the 2014 update of the High Speed Rail business plan.6) Strengthen language regarding the blended systemThe new MOU describes the blended system and the need to work cooperatively with local communities.That language can be strengthened in line with Caltrains current positions. ● The MOU covers only the blended system in which Caltrain and HSR share tracks predominantly within the Caltrain right of way ● The current Project-Level environmental clearance process is the only valid environmental process and any previous Project-Level environmental work is obsolete ● Unless legally required, grade separation should be at the discretion of local government ● Functional specification changes such as speed mandating grade separation shall require environmental clearance7) Work together to meet reporting requirements of SB1029 ● Caltrain and HSR Commit to create a project management and funding plan in accordance with the requirements of SB 1029 (Section 3 provision 8) ● HSRA shall submit a Funding Plan and Accountability Plan for the Norther California segment within one year according to provisions 5 and 7 of section 3We are very glad to see the MOU being updated to reflect the blended system and look forward toconstructive collaboration to upgrade the corridor.Sincerely,