Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sales tax ballot measure OK’d for Caltrain

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California State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-13th District) California State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-13th District)

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 10 signed a state senate bill authorizing Caltrain to place a local sales tax measure on the upcoming November election ballot. If passed, the sales tax, which would be a maximum of one-eighth of one cent (0.125 cents), will provide Caltrain, which provides regional/commuter rail service between San Francisco and San Jose, a dedicated funding source.

California Senate Bill (SB) 797, authored by State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-13th District), allows the Caltrain Board of Directors to place the measure 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, which is currently under construction, will provide us with the potential to dramatically increase rail service to Caltrain communities. SB 797 provides the opportunity to invest in that potential to truly meet the long-term needs of the region.”

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,” Caltrain noted. “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.”

“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 Sen. 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.”

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