AB 2197 would help close existing funding gap
- Susan Kennedy
- Director of Communications, Office of Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin
San Mateo – Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin announced the introduction of AB 2197, which will appropriate $260 million from the State’s General Fund to the California State Transportation Agency for the purpose of closing the funding gap for the Caltrain Electrification Project and ensure the project’s completion by 2024.
“Caltrain electrification is necessary on so many levels,” Assemblymember Mullin stated. “It is essential to our local economies, both now and in the future, because this region and this corridor is a hub of creativity and entrepreneurship that have changed our country. Caltrain is the spine that helps support our innovation economy.”
The Caltrain Electrification Project is creating the first electrified commuter rail line in California, a historic accomplishment in the future of sustainable transportation in the State. The Project will provide immense environmental benefits to the community by reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the 51-mile corridor from San Francisco to San Jose. The project will modernize the 150-year-old rail corridor, replacing 75% of the existing diesel engines with high performance electric trains.
Assemblymember Mullin was joined for his announcement by Michelle Bouchard, Acting Executive Director of Caltrain, Charles Stone, Vice-Chair of the Caltrain Joint Powers Board and Rosanne Foust, President and CEO of San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA).
“Closing the funding gap on the Caltrain Electrification Project is a top priority for me and the Caltrain team right now,” stated Michelle Bouchard, Acting Executive Director of Caltrain. “I am grateful to Assemblymember Mullin for introducing AB 2197 that will ensure the Project is complete by 2024. Caltrain Electrification represents a new beginning for this railroad, and I can’t wait to celebrate the upcoming milestones for the Project over the next several months. “
Charles Stone, Vice-Chair, Caltrain Board of Directors said, “It’s an exciting time to be in transportation with renewed attention and visionary leadership from all levels of government working toward a more sustainable and equitable transportation system. On behalf of the Caltrain Board of Directors, we are grateful to Assemblymember Kevin Mullin for introducing this bill to help Caltrain provide Bay Area residents and visitors with the world-class transportation system they deserve.”
According to Rosanne Foust, President and CEO of SAMCEDA, “A fully-electrified Caltrain is essential to improved service, increased frequency, reduced traffic congestion, carbon reduction, and a strong local economy. We must complete this project to ensure San Mateo County’s long-term recovery from COVID-19 economic impacts, get people back to work, and increase economic activity in downtowns around stations. This investment will immediately pay off for the environment, for jobs, and for small businesses.”
The electrification of the Caltrain system will deliver major benefits to the communities that it serves. Electrification will reduce Caltrain’s greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate the particulate matter caused by the aging diesel engines. Electrified service will lay the foundation to meet the goal of tripling capacity by 2040, the equivalent of carrying 5.5 lanes of traffic on U.S. Highway 101. Service will become both more frequent and more comfortable, as state-of-the-art electric trains replace Caltrain’s current aging fleet.
“Everyone speaking today made the case for how crucial electrification is for Caltrain, the Peninsula and California,” Mullin said. “I’m all in on closing the funding gap on this project. I’m grateful to Senator Scott Weiner and Assemblymember Marc Berman who are co-authors on this bill and I will be working with my legislative colleagues and Governor Newsom to make sure this projects crosses the finish line.”
About Kevin Mullin: He was first elected to the State Assembly in 2012 and has served as Assembly Speaker pro Tem since 2014. In addition to election reform and strengthening our democracy, he has been a leader on climate issues and was the author of AB 1889 to ensure state funds were available for Caltrain electrification.
Mullin was born and raised in South San Francisco. In 2007, Mullin was elected to the South San Francisco City Council and served as Mayor in 2011. He also served as district director for then-State Senator Jackie Speier and as political director for his father, former State Assemblymember Gene Mullin. Mullin is a former small business owner and founder of KM2 Communications, a multimedia production business in South San Francisco. Today, he lives in South San Francisco with his wife, Jessica Stanfill Mullin, and their twin sons Liam and Landon.