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San Francisco supervisors defend refusal to support Caltrain sales tax

Original post made on Jul 16, 2020

San Francisco supervisors Shamann Walton and Aaron Peskin on Wednesday stood by their refusal to support asking voters in November to support a sales tax for Caltrain, though the move seemed to threaten the rail system's future.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 16, 2020, 12:56 PM

Comments (6)

3 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm

It seems that ridership of public transportation (train, bus, ferry) may be permanently reduced because people will be working from home.
Some jobs have vanished due to social distancing, like restaurant work, gyms, etc. With half the space available for patrons, only half the staff is need.
A new tax will not change that.
Perhaps a reduction in operation is in order. This should reduce costs.


7 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Trains and other mass transit spreading viruses are history. No tax measure will get even 50% approval.


6 people like this
Posted by nico
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm

To improve public support of Cal Train, they will benefit from being a better neighbor. Their loud operations and over-use of horns at all hours of the night does not help public acceptance of this 200year old technology. More housing near train tracks have been developed and their horns can be heard 1/2 mile away. Improved technology to maintain safety for at-grade crossings and stations can be developed but they continue to pour money into keeping this antiquated technology and procedure.


4 people like this
Posted by Mike Engler
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 19, 2020 at 3:04 am

The Caltrain right-of-way is valuable, but they're going to have to make some big changes given the permanent switch to more remote working.

Getting rid of the antiquated train-sets and switching to much cheaper options like SMART did with DMUs would enable them to continue operating at lower capacity with fewer staff and lower fuel costs.


8 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm

I generally like public transit. I used Caltrain by choice (in normal times).

The problem that advocates in our area, such as Adina Levin (aka "Friends of Caltrain"), fail to seriously confront is they're asking for ANOTHER SALES TAX which for many people -- even WITHOUT current questions about transit in pandemic -- is a big red flag. In the real world you make hard choices. Between alternatives either of which includes serious downsides.

Contrary to the very cheap shot quoted in the article ('San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals said Peskin doesn't "care about traffic or the environment"') the picture is more complex than just "caring about traffic or the environment." You can be fiscally irresponsible, or burden the wrong people with paying for what many residents see as a luxury, even while claiming to "care about traffic or the environment."

God forbid that any of these "caring" advocates try something creative, like finding a way to access funds from the last several sales-tax inititatives promising transportation revolutions -- how often do you see a reassessment that looks at what actually resulted? -- or to remove an existing sales-tax component, so the net rate stays unchanged?

This region got along fine for many years with sales taxes around FIVE PERCENT when economic activity was weaker than recent years, even inflation-adjusted. Some consider the overall quality of life to've been better in the Bay Area then. It would be harder to keep selling endless "incremental" sales taxes without the influx of naive new residents who didn't experience the last dozen of them.


Like this comment
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm

I think something should be done about the trains blaring their horns at crossings. It seems to me that an RF signal could be sent as a much less noisy signal located next to the crossing, this is not super high tech.
But no matter I support Caltrain taxes it cut down on dirty air which impacts everyone


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