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Caltrain board declares fiscal emergency

Original post made on Mar 4, 2011

Caltrain's board of directors declared a fiscal emergency Thursday after hundreds of riders packed SamTrans headquarters in San Carlos and asked members not to cut services.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 4, 2011, 10:27 AM

Comments (12)

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Posted by Anti-Radiation_Activist
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Google could definitely contribute to fill the shortcomings and save the San Antonio station at the same time.

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Posted by musat
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Google is closest to the Mountain View station, which is a hub for bus and light rail as well and supports a taxi queue. Google and other shuttles already link to this station. Why San Antonio?

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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

It's easy to name profitable businesses and wealthy people as sources of income to Caltrain--and every other public entity including the Federal government. They all, of course, allow voluntary contributions and I applaud anyone or any business that contributes to Caltrain, but there are only two sources of income Caltrain can depend on as the recent cuts by the Joint Powers illustrates: fares and special taxes.

Caltrain should raise fares but, realistically, have little leeway there because every increase in fares results in reduced ridership and increased cost per rider. That leaves taxes. I believe a property tax increment is Caltrain's best choice and recommend a tax of a penny per square foot for all taxable property in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, plus an additional tax of two cents per square foot for all property within 1 mile of the tracks.

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Posted by PH
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:15 am

I posted my thoughts after the article about saving the San Antonio station. Simply put, save the whole train infrastructure, but get it right as we all get tired of throwing money in to an endless pit.

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Posted by sue
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm

santa clara universty also can contribut money to caltrain to keep the santa clara train station open for the students and staffs come and go.also the san jose airport shuttle bus picks up and drops off people to and from the airport.the san jose airport also can contribut money to keep the santa clara caltrain station open.

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Posted by EasyLike SundayMorning
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2011 at 6:00 am

Paint one of the cars green and sell cannabis to qualified patients out of it at every stop. I know I know, but it makes me chuckle thinking about it.
The funny thing is that it'd probably work.

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

Doug P. has a good point here. The way to make a sustainable operation is not to finger particular profitable businesses - and not to rely on very fragile JPA contracts between government bodies. These JPAs are really nothing more than contracts, which have many termination clauses and "fiscal emergency" clauses that allow rapid shutdowns. Hence - money sharing from San Mateo SamTrans is entirely discretionary.
Doug's simple tax is an easy to understand - and tied-to-benefit type of funding. It's simple. It would phase in as JPA funding phased out.
It makes no sense IMO to have the SamTrans management run the rail system. They have demonstrated little commitment to doing this efficiently (Sorry - they get an F for Failure).

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Posted by Hank Snow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Sell some sort of lottery bonds backed by Caltrain revenues.

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Posted by Alfred W
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I strongly disagree with the perceived benefits of living near the tracks.
The closer to the track the more noise your get from caltrain operations. For example, those living near MV downtown they get 12 horn blasts for every train that pass by (2 pedestrian + 1 road crossings) per FRA and CPUC regulations
With the current schedule, the last train go through MV at 1:08 am and the first morning train is at 4:49 am. These folks only get 3:30 of uninterrupted sleep! forget about raising healthy kids under these conditions. And now you are talking about taxing them on the top of that!
These folks would dream for Caltrain to cut the mostly empty late night and early morning trains and focus on profitable commute service.
Don't ask them to pay for the rope to hang them!

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Posted by steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Doug P. why should folks pay extra taxes just because they live within 1 mile of the train? Why should the many pay for the privilege of a few?

Not only are you suggesting we penalize folks for merely living close to the tracks, but you will also drive their property values down, all because a *very* small subset of the people in the bay area want to ride on a train. Talk about the tyranny of the minority!

There is a reason people are leaving this state in droves, and it is because of patently absurd ideas such as yours becoming law through our incredibly irresponsible and intellectually bankrupt legislature

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Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Ever ride the trains in Europe? Didn't you just love it? Know why they're so good? They're subsidized from taxes on air tickets. Considering how much more economical and useful train travel is, it might be time we stop bailing out failing airlines and start supporting the trains.

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Posted by David
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It will never happen because there are too many fiefdoms and egos involved, but we really need a single regional transit authority for the Bay Area. Such a body could achieve operation and staffing efficiencies that would likely decrease the cost per passenger mile and coordinate schedules so public transportation works across the region rather than provincially. A strong and business-savvy General Manager, and an elected Board of Directors serving ten year terms, would ensure long-term thinking toward building a world class, and sustainable, regional public transportation system. As an alternative, we could have a mixed bag of parochial and provincial public transportation systems and organizations, each dependent on their own source of funding, with a public be damned attitude. But we have tried that, huh?

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