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Federal working group formed on high-speed rail

Original post made on Oct 12, 2010

A high-level federal working group that will meet weekly to discuss California's high-speed rail project has been created in response to growing concerns about the viability of the California project, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo announced Monday in an interview with the ==I Voice's== sister paper, the Palo Alto Weekly.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 11:32 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by Antonio Napolero, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Electrification alone, won't save Caltrain, Caltrain needs to cleanup their own house first.
Caltrain employees total compensation jumped 34 percent over the last 3 years. Compensation is eating up the budget, there is no money left for rail service!
Electrification won't change that


Posted by vfree, a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 13, 2010 at 9:17 am

Hood and our local represenatives in Washington are getting invloved? Well that should slow the high speed train down.


Posted by Mike Laursen, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

Antonio,

That's interesting. I've been wondering where I could get more information about Caltrain's budget. Where did you get the 34% figure?

Do you know if Caltrain employees are unionized?

-- ML


Posted by Jarrett, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Mike,

As far as I understand, Caltrain contracts with Amtrak to operate the trains while SamTrans manages the service. Here's the 2011 budget:

Web Link

Caltrain should certainly try to get a better deal for their operating contract. I believe it is up for review/renewal soon.

However, the real problem is a the lack of a dedicated operating fund. Unlike BART or VTA, Caltrain is dependent on contributions from MUNI, VTA, and SamTrans to operate. I believe these agencies can axe their funding at any time. This is what SamTrans is planning on doing next year and Caltrain will face a $30 million operating deficit. As you may remember, the 4 trains that are being cut and the fare increase only raises $1.2 million.

Caltrain needs a dedicated source of funding.


Posted by Antonio Napolero, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Caltrain employee pay rises even during rocky time
Web Link


Posted by Antonio Napolero, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

"Caltrain needs a dedicated source of funding"
Or not ...
Whatever money is being thrown at Caltrain in its current shape or form will be wasted on employee entitlements/benefits/guaranteed retirement/automatic pay raises/lifetime employment etc
Let Caltrain go bankrupt for the benefit of the people using the train and the tax payers fitting the bill
Then start from scratch with a completely different set of individuals
Pay employee market rate, actively manage employee performance, accept accountability for end results which is the satisfaction of the folks riding the train, the quality of the service offered and the safety of the people making their way across the tracks.


Posted by Mike Laursen, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 13, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Antonio, that article was kinda depressing. Here, I thought maybe they were spending the money on diesel fuel, mechanics, janitorial services, train drivers -- you know, actually operating a railroad. Sigh.


Posted by Jarrett, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Antonio,

Letting Caltrain die for the sake of restructuring a small administration is naive. Even if that scheme was enacted, we'd still be short tens of millions of dollars for operations because SamTrans and other agencies do not want to fund the railroad anymore. The article cited is talking about a 3 million dollars in raises. Caltrain is facing a $30 million deficit next year because it's being abandoned by SamTrans. Cleaning the administrative house might help a little, but the scale of the funding issue occludes the criticisms of public employee salaries. Dedicated funding is needed to maintain and increase the number of trains.

Mike,

The administrative costs are nothing compared to the operations contract with Amtrak. According to the budget linked in my previous post they spend $50 million for train operators and conductors. The archaic system of two conductors adds to the cost and should be revised (among other things) when Caltrain renegotiates the labor agreement later this year.


Posted by calhealthservicesjobs, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

[Post removed due to promoting a website]


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