Contributed by Megan Fluke Medeiros, Sierra Club:
For each of the 50 states, Sierra Club has identified a best and worst transportation projects.
For California, Caltrain modernization, particularly electrification, was chosen as the best.
On the San Francisco Peninsula, Caltrain electrification is featured in the Sierra Club’s new national report: Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States. The Loma Prieta chapter of the Sierra Club believes that Caltrain electrification is an example of the kind of projects California needs to move beyond oil.
“Electrification will cut the railroad's operating costs in half by avoiding the purchase of 4.5 million gallons of diesel fuel a year and replacing it with far cheaper and cleaner electricity,” explained Gladwyn d’Souza, Belmont Planning Commissioner and Transportation Committee chair for the Loma Prieta Chapter.“ It is exactly the kind of infrastructure we need as part of a 21st Century Transportation system that increases our transportation choices and increases our housing options by enabling transit oriented development.”
John Holtzclaw, San Francisco resident and volunteer coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Green Transportation campaign, sits on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Advisory Council.
“Electrification of this rail line will lower hazardous diesel fine particulate pollution that will immediately have a beneficial impact on those living near the rail line,” explained Dr. Holtzclaw.
“Under MAP 21 (Moving Ahead for Progress,) the nation’s new transportation policy, we have the opportunity to ensure that California invests in the transportation projects we need to move beyond oil and not those that cater to more driving” said Holtzclaw.
Local Sierra Club Chapters are working to ensure that this project moves forward while not impacting funding for local bus and other transit priorities.
Megan Fluke Medeiros, the Loma Prieta Chapter’s Conservation Manager, is a daily Caltrain commuter and couldn't be more excited about the modernization of the line.
“I love Caltrain because it gives me time to respond to emails , a space for my bicycle enabling me to get much needed exercise, and the freedom of not owning the car I don’t want. With more frequent and faster service, we’re going to have less traffic on our roads, more active lifestyles, more disposable income, and happier people all around.”
[The full report is available here: http://content.sierraclub.org/beyondoil/content/smart-choices-less-traffic]