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Can 'Friends' Help Save Caltrain?

Former Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto has formed "Friends of Caltrain" to help prevent the train from spiraling downhill due to lack of funds. The tri-county train faces a $30 million deficit, with a total budget of just under $100 million.
January 26, 2011, 1pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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Caltrain is the only Bay Area transit agency that has no dedicated funding mechanism - it's gotten by primarily on the annual contributions of the three transit agencies that serve the tri-county peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose/Gilroy since the state spun it off in 1992. The 'Friends' are holding a summit on Jan 29.

"Kishimoto hopes "the time has come" to raise the gas tax. She thinks a Bay Area-wide one-cent increase approved by voters in November 2012 would be the most realistic option to substantially bolster Caltrain's reliable revenue.

Additionally, a tri-county payroll tax of just $20 per year could bring in $35 million, well over this year's entire deficit, according to Kishimoto. She also thinks congestion pricing and high-occupancy toll lanes are "seriously worth considering."

Kishimoto sees a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax "for wherever you're traveling" as the ideal long-term solution."

Thanks to California League of Conservation Voters

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Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 in Streetsblog San Francisco
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