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Caltrain board reluctant to cut bullet trains

Original post made on Apr 8, 2011

Caltrain's governing board, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, urged the agency's staff Thursday to find another $3.5 million to save the Baby Bullet service and preserve the current 86-train weekly schedule.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 8, 2011, 10:09 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Edward Kurrant, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:37 am

Funny how I do not hear anyone proposing cutting the exorbitant pay of the Executive Director or the bloated staff.
Many of the 770 Caltrain employees make over $100,000 a year or more.

In San Mateo County particularly they have three transit agencies. The only purpose for this is so members on each of these 'boards' can collect a paycheck from each one they sit on. The more agencies and boards; the more paychecks.
Scanlon sits on three and last year accumulated pay over $407,000. Which included a $24,000 housing allowance and $40,000 toward his home loan.
If this railroad is in such a mess they claim it is, how come no one is being held accountable?

The San Mateo County supervisors should be voted out of office for letting this debacle progress.
(Remember it was San Mateo Counties leadership that lost $155 million dollars in the Leman Bros. collapse. Anyone who checked on financial-banking stocks the summer before the collapse (August 2008) could have read analyst worried that Leman would be the next BearSterns fiasco. I guess the San Mateo County leadership did care or can't read. Just like now.)

Now "Friends of Caltrain" want a TAX? A tax to continue this mis-management and waste?
I do not think so.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

@Edward: amen my friend


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

@Edward - I'm not going to take on the issue of the 3 transportation agencies in San Mateo County or executive compensation, but I do disagree with your assertion "If this railroad is in such a mess they claim it is, how come no one is being held accountable?", your kneejerk reaction to Friends of Caltrain's advocacy of a dedicated funding source for Caltrain.

You state that this railroad is a mess and full of mis-management and waste. However, even while wrestling with the budget challenges at yesterday's Board meeting, it was reported that average weekday ridership on Caltrain hit 41,442 in February, an increase of nearly 13 percent over 2010, and a RECORD HIGH. (See Web Link).

Caltrain is clearly not seeing a lack of riders, and the service that is being put out is clearly in demand. The "mess" as you call it stems from the fact that Caltrain does not have a dedicated funding source but relies on contributions from 3 partner agencies, whose own budgets have been severely hit by a double-whammy of sharply reduced sales tax revenues and a near-total elimination of state funding. While all your rhetoric about San Mateo County's losses in the Lehmand Brothers collapse is great chest-thumping, the truth is that nearly every public agency, private company, individual investor got blindsided by the severity of the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008 and the Great Recession that followed it. I think Caltrain's leadership has done no better or worse than any other company or agency given the difficult hand it has been dealt.


Posted by k, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

"Don't cut the baby bullet service!" say the people who have cars who don't *actually* need it to get to and from work...while the baby bullet speeds past people who *do* need it, skipping stations. At least if they cut the baby bullet service and maintained local/limited service, everyone would still have the option of riding the train...

It's an extra like 20-30 minutes, guys...seriously. Use that time to practice meditation or something.


Posted by Alfred W, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm

This "dedicated funding" thing is clever positioning by Caltrain management to ask for more money from the tax payers and resist any cut in compensation. "This mess is not our fault, it's because we lack dedicated funding"

The light rail does not have "dedicated funding" either it gets it's funding from the VTA. Bus service in santa clara county do not have dedicated funding either, it gets it's funding from the VTA

The Mountain View Police Department does not have "dedicated funding" it gets funding from the city of Mountain View and the city decides how much they should receive.

Imagine if every public service agency was asking for "dedicated funding" directly from the tax payers, we would end up with hundreds of new taxes.


Posted by Patrick, a resident of Castro City
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

If you really want to see how badly Caltrains is managed check out this article from the Mercury News. Total incompetence.

Web Link


Posted by Gene, a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

@Alfred:
According to the Santa Clara County Registrar's Office and VTA, in the early 1970's, Santa Clara County voters approved a 1/2-cent PERMANENT sales tax to run the bus system - a sales tax which has been collected since 1976. Just to set the record straight on one of your points.


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