Caltrain Receives Approval for Sales Tax Ballot Measure
Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 797, authored by Senator Jerry Hill, which will allow the Caltrain Board of Directors to place a measure before voters seeking resources to support enhanced commuter rail service between San Francisco and San Jose.
SB 797 gives the Board the authority to place a sales tax of no more than a one-eighth-cent before voters in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The ballot measure would also require approval from the Boards of Supervisors and the transit governing boards in each county, as well as approval of two-thirds of the voters in all three counties.
“As one of the only transit systems in the State without a dedicated source of funding, this bill is critical to supporting our efforts to upgrade Caltrain service so we can meet the evolving mobility demands of our growing region,” said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. “The Caltrain Electrification Project that is currently under construction will provide us with the potential to dramatically increase rail service to Caltrain communities, and SB 797 provides the opportunity to invest in that potential to truly meet the long term needs of the region.”
“Today we are one step closer to allowing the public to decide how they want to address traffic problems and improvements along the Caltrain corridor,” said Hill. “Our region is an economic powerhouse for our state and the Caltrain corridor is its major transportation artery. If our residents cannot get back and forth to work, school and their families because our main transportation corridor cannot accommodate them, we jeopardize the health of our robust economy and our quality of life.”
Caltrain is currently working to complete the Caltrain Business Plan, which will identify the service levels and regional rail integration opportunities to help accommodate regional growth along with the infrastructure needed to support increased service. The business plan will also identify funding strategies, including SB 797, and governance, management and commercial strategies that will help facilitate the long-term vision for expanded Caltrain service.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain enjoyed more than five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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