Mountain View Voice

Opinion - April 9, 2010

Town Square

On the possibility of Caltrain service cuts

I want good Caltrain service (though I'm not a commuter) but Caltrain cannot operate without subsidies — its fares pay for only 40 percent of its operating costs, according to the article. Multiplying fares by 2.5 will not get to 100 percent of operating costs because fewer people would ride. Cutting costs by reducing service will not solve the problem because there will be fewer riders.

Making Caltrain more efficient, e.g. by electrifying the trains, takes even more money, though it might eventually pay for itself in reduced energy costs. Caltrain needs to have its subsidies restored. That may happen in a few years, but doesn't help today.

Caltrain will do what it has to do. I'm sure I will not like it any more than they do.

Doug Pearson, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood

Let the whole stupid train system fall. Here is a classic example of government waste. We spend jillions on public transportation that very few people use. We are not Europe! Spend on things that Americans need. Forget the train system and put the money in the schools' math and science programs.

David Craig, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood

Caltrain, like all public transportation, is never going to be 100 percent full or perfect. However, every person on Caltrain takes a car off the road. It increases our green footprint. It cuts down on overcrowding. It is a practical method of public transportation.

It should be (nearly) 100 percent funded by gas taxes. People should be encouraged, by all means possible, to take the train.

Our gas tax situation is abysmal. We have some of the lowest gas taxes in the world yet use the most gasoline. Our infrastructure is in poor shape and a small increase in gas taxes could begin paying for repair. How about $2 a gallon state tax as a good beginning?

James Thurber, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood

Peninsula residents, one of the wealthiest and most ostentatiously "green" populations in the country and the quickest to demand sacrifices from the less enlightened for the sake of the environment, should be packing the trains throughout the day. Fare revenues would then be helping to mitigate Caltrain's deficit.

But let the price of riding the train become uncompetitive with driving, and the cry goes up for more taxation to keep fares low.

By design, I've lived within five miles of my work for the past 20 years. It required trade-offs, the cost of which I absorbed. I make relatively little money by mid-Peninsula standards, but I pay plenty in taxes. Why should I pay even more in taxes so that someone making $150,000 a year can work in S.F. and live in Mountain View, but not have to pay the cost of the living and working choices they made?

RDM, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood

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