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SamTrans calls on VTA, city of San Francisco to repay $82M debt

A SamTrans bus stop. Ananda Paulas/Bay City News.

The SamTrans Board of Directors is seeking reimbursement from the Valley Transportation Authority and the city of San Francisco for an $82 million debt incurred when the agencies originally purchased the Caltrain Corridor.

SamTrans' board made the announcement Tuesday via a news release, after adopting a resolution outlining its plan to seek reimbursement.

SamTrans, VTA and the city of San Francisco oversee Caltrain. The agencies are part of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board or JPB, which is made up of representatives from San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.

After the JPB was initially formed in the late 1980s to take control of Caltrain, SamTrans paid $82 million to help purchase the Caltrain Corridor from its previous owner. At the time, VTA and San Francisco had no available funding, according to details provided in the resolution.

The JPB and its agencies then entered a contract outlining how SamTrans would be reimbursed and making SamTrans the JPB's managing agency until reimbursement.

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However, to date, VTA and the city of San Francisco have made no payments toward the debt, according to the resolution.

Charles Stone, chairman of the SamTrans Board of Directors and mayor of the city of Belmont, said in a statement that the time is "past due" for the bills to be addressed.

To recover the debt, the SamTrans board authorized its Acting General Manager/CEO Carter Mau to seek a written response from the city of San Francisco, VTA and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission about how they will be reimbursed.

While SamTrans remains the managing agency responsible for running Caltrain's day-to-day operations, in the past year, officials from the other JPB agencies have pushed to change how Caltrain is governed.

Caltrain's JPB governance structure is under review.

However, SamTrans wants to retain its leadership and collect its debts.

Stone said that SamTrans is open to improvements to governance that will benefit riders or improve Caltrain's efficiency but said that has not been the case.

"What we have witnessed so far is two of the three member agencies seeking to take over control through a new governance structure while leaving large outstanding debts incurred for the current one," Stone said.

The resolution adopted at the SamTrans board meeting is available online at samtrans.com/about/boardofdirectors/Board_of_Directors_Calendar.html.

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SamTrans calls on VTA, city of San Francisco to repay $82M debt

by Astrid Casimire / Bay City News Service / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Jun 25, 2021, 4:36 pm

The SamTrans Board of Directors is seeking reimbursement from the Valley Transportation Authority and the city of San Francisco for an $82 million debt incurred when the agencies originally purchased the Caltrain Corridor.

SamTrans' board made the announcement Tuesday via a news release, after adopting a resolution outlining its plan to seek reimbursement.

SamTrans, VTA and the city of San Francisco oversee Caltrain. The agencies are part of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board or JPB, which is made up of representatives from San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.

After the JPB was initially formed in the late 1980s to take control of Caltrain, SamTrans paid $82 million to help purchase the Caltrain Corridor from its previous owner. At the time, VTA and San Francisco had no available funding, according to details provided in the resolution.

The JPB and its agencies then entered a contract outlining how SamTrans would be reimbursed and making SamTrans the JPB's managing agency until reimbursement.

However, to date, VTA and the city of San Francisco have made no payments toward the debt, according to the resolution.

Charles Stone, chairman of the SamTrans Board of Directors and mayor of the city of Belmont, said in a statement that the time is "past due" for the bills to be addressed.

To recover the debt, the SamTrans board authorized its Acting General Manager/CEO Carter Mau to seek a written response from the city of San Francisco, VTA and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission about how they will be reimbursed.

While SamTrans remains the managing agency responsible for running Caltrain's day-to-day operations, in the past year, officials from the other JPB agencies have pushed to change how Caltrain is governed.

Caltrain's JPB governance structure is under review.

However, SamTrans wants to retain its leadership and collect its debts.

Stone said that SamTrans is open to improvements to governance that will benefit riders or improve Caltrain's efficiency but said that has not been the case.

"What we have witnessed so far is two of the three member agencies seeking to take over control through a new governance structure while leaving large outstanding debts incurred for the current one," Stone said.

The resolution adopted at the SamTrans board meeting is available online at samtrans.com/about/boardofdirectors/Board_of_Directors_Calendar.html.

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