Note that electrification is different and separate from HSR, although it is closely related and serves as a key enabler of HSR. The present certification has to do with Caltrain's own long-standing plans to convert from diesel power to clean, fast and quiet 25 kV overhead electric power, regardless of HSR. For those who remember, the Draft EIR was published in 2004, and the idea of electrification dates back to the 1980s.
The final EIR is posted here.
The question on everybody's mind must be, why electrify before new HSR tracks are added and grade separations are built? The 185-page volume containing responses to public comments gives the following justification, among other reasons:
over three-quarters of electrification’s projected costs are expenses that do not depend on the specific track alignment; these include vehicles, power substations, and maintenance yards. Therefore, even if the entire track alignment were relocated as part of building the ultimate four-track, grade-separated railroad, in the worst case only about one-quarter of the total electrification cost for that segment of the route may be wasted. But such waste would be minimized. Design plans or conceptual plans for the ultimate alignment would be used in the detailed planning for electrification to reduce the amount of additional electrification work needed as the ultimate alignment was completed. In addition, virtually all of the OCS equipment (with the exception of the foundations, OCS conductors and any underground duct banks) can be re-used, thereby further reducing any waste and associated costs.Congratulations for passing this important milestone.