Caltrain In Freefall

Service will be cut 44%, half the stations to close, elimination of mid-day and weekend service - that is the scenario laid for Caltrain, the West's oldest commuter rail, unless $30 million can be found - unlikely.
February 7, 2011, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Caltrain leaders said the station closures and service cuts will be necessary starting July 2 to survive a record $30.3 million deficit -- about one-third of Caltrain's operating budget -- unless they receive an influx of last-minute funding from outside sources, which they say is increasingly unlikely. The board does not expect to make a decision on the cuts until April."

The free-fall was triggered when one of the three member agencies, Samtrans, indicated it was financially unable to meet its 'member contribution', which in turn spiraled, per the joint operating agreement of the 3-county authority, to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority to reduce their contributions by the same 67%.

From Palo Alto Online: Caltrain board: 'The crisis is at hand: "(Executive Director Mike) Scanlon blamed SamTrans, which has announced it must reduce its share of subsidies to Caltrain by $10 million, for causing much of Caltrain's current problem. SamTrans is facing a crisis of its own and could halve its service in three years, he said.

More than half of SamTrans' long-term debt is for the BART extension into San Mateo County (to connect with San Francisco International Airport), he said. The agency is trying to amortize the $13 million over 25-30 years, he said."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, February 4, 2011 in San Jose Mercury News
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