A California State lawmaker has introduced a last-minute piece of legislation that would give the state the ability to begin selling voter-approved high-speed rail bonds to go towards electrifying the Caltrain from Gilroy to San Francisco.
AB1889 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South Francisco, would change the wording of previous legislation to approve selling the bonds to pay for upgrades to Caltrain, which has been included as part of the plan to build the California high-speed rail system, according to KCRA News.
In an effort to free up funding for the Caltrain upgrades, the bill modified its original topic on Tuesday. The bill is meant to clarify a portion of prior legislation that authorized $1.1 billion for transit improvements at both ends of the high-speed rail project. There is concern that the existing law would mean that the Caltrain can’t fund their electrification project until the high-speed rail is complete and running, which was not what lawmakers intended.
Officials are looking to approve the first portion of the approximately $2 billion Caltrain project next month. The project will increase train frequency and speed up travel times, but they want to ensure they can get the financing first. The state’s share of the cost would be about $713 million.
Also, the project will include electrification of a 55-mile corridor of track from south of San Jose to San Francisco, according KCRA news.
In 2008, voters approved nearly $10 billion of bonds for the high-speed rail project. Initially, the state sold about $1.1 billion, but the bonds have been restricted since the project was tied up in court for years. Last month, plaintiffs in the biggest case challenging high speed rail lost their challenge and opted last month not to appeal, potentially freeing up the financing.
According to Marc Lifsher, a spokesman for state Treasurer John Chiang, in KCRA News said his office has not received any requests to sell the high-speed rail bonds, which are sold twice a year in the spring and fall as part of the state’s general obligation for bond sales.
We will continue to follow this project as plans evolve. If you think your property or business may be taken for the high-speed rail project, you can learn more about your options by giving us a call at (866) EM-DOMAIN.