Caltrain’s Board of Directors reviewed and adopted a $66.4 million operating budget for the second half of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 operating budget and approved an amended $82.3 million FY 2021 capital budget.
Caltrain has faced unprecedented financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Caltrain losses in fare revenue were significant as ridership decreased dramatically to between 5% and 7% of previous levels.
Funding provided by the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has allowed Caltrain to maintain service through the end of the calendar year, but CARES funds will be fully expended in December and additional cost-saving measures are needed to balance the budget through June 2021.
Revenues from the passage of Measure RR in the November 2020 election will not be available until FY 2022, but voter approval of the 1/8-cent sales tax provides the agency with more flexibility to implement cost-saving measures that address an estimated $25 million shortfall in the FY 2021 budget. These measures include the application of State Rail Assistance Program funds to the operating budget, a draw upon Caltrain’s existing line of credit, the use of a portion of the agency’s reserves, and the diversion of funding from some capital projects and preventative maintenance needs.
Sixty percent of the budget is dedicated to Transit America Services Inc. (TASI), which contracts with Caltrain to operate, staff, and maintain the Caltrain rail service. The impact on TASI staff will be minimized through a combination of attrition and the ongoing transition of the workforce to the capital program, but some limited furloughs are anticipated.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with commute service to Gilroy. 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 corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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