Caltrain Board of Directors Approves Operating and Capital Budgets


Caltrain’s Board of Directors unanimously approved its operating and capital budgets for Fiscal Year 2020 at the rail agency’s monthly board meeting yesterday.

The $155.7 million operating budget approved by the Board includes $106 million in farebox revenues and $29.9 million in total investment from Caltrain’s three partners—the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the City and County of San Francisco, an increase of approximately 18% over last year. All agency revenues are not sufficient to meet projected expenses, requiring the use of approximately $1.1 million from the revenue stabilization fund to cover them in FY2020.

Caltrain’s operating budget does not include a dedicated source of funding and over the years, the rail agency has had to rely on reserves to help balance its budget.  Farebox revenue makes up approximately 68% of the budget.  Caltrain continues to explore alternatives to address its ongoing structural deficit, including a potential sales tax that the Caltrain Board will consider in the coming months.  Without dedicated funding or continued increased member contributions, Caltrain will not be able to operate at existing service levels, nor could it meet the ridership projections laid out in the Caltrain Business Plan.

Caltrain’s $47.4 million capital budget will be funded through a combination of federal, regional and state grants, along with $7.5 million from each of its partner agencies. Staff proposed that these member agencies maintain this level of funding in order to fund state of good repair projects that have been deferred due to budget shortfalls.

The Caltrain capital budget covers long-term infrastructure improvement and maintenance projects including maintenance work on stations and intermodal access, right of way signals and communications, and rolling stock. The capital budget also includes additional funding for the Guadalupe River Bridge Replacement Project, the rehabilitation of San Francisco’s Marin Street and Napoleon Avenue Bridge and the general state of good repair for the system at large.

The 2020 Fiscal Year begins on July 1.


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 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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