Almanac

News - January 12, 2011

Caltrain rethinks partnership with California high-speed rail

by Sandy Brundage

Bob Doty, director of the Peninsula Rail Program, has traded in his Caltrain ticket for a position with engineering firm HNTB.

Mr. Doty has managed the partnership between financially strapped Caltrain and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) since 2008. His new position will continue to focus on high-speed rail, but not involve the Peninsula segment for at least one year after leaving Caltrain on Jan. 21.

"His departure means we will rethink the structure and the personnel to go forward with high-speed rail," Caltrain Executive Director Mike Scanlon said in a press release. "We entered into the agreement with High Speed Rail to help save Caltrain. We still have to save Caltrain."

Mr. Doty had the difficult job of deciding whether high-speed rail or Caltrain was the top priority, according to Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline, who suggested a continued partnership between the high-speed rail agency and Caltrain may no longer benefit local cities.

"It serves little purpose for Caltrain now, aside from potentially limiting our local transit leaders from looking at real alternatives for long-term funding," Mayor Cline said. "Caltrain needs to officially cut the cord from the CHSRA and work with local leaders and agencies to find ongoing operational revenue without the distraction of a false windfall.

Caltrain declined to elaborate on the future of its partnership with CHSRA.

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