Caltrain faces significant budget challenges, with a $30 million operating deficit projected for FY2011/12. Currently, Caltrain lacks a dedicated source of operating funds, relying instead on funds passed through from VTA, SamTrans and SF Muni to supplement fares.
Caltrain provides a vital link between Bay Area employers and their workforce. It greatly enhances regional connectivity and offers an alternative to driving on our already congested highways. Losing Caltrain service would cripple our regional transportational system and economy, limiting mobility and employment options and requiring 2.5 additional highway lanes between the South Bay and San Francisco just to keep the commute flowing at current, sluggish levels, according to UC Berkley Professor of City and Regional Planning Elizabeth Deakin.
As a result, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is organizing this effort to identify and implement solutions to Caltrain’s fiscal challenge, with a broad coalition of supporters in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. To push forward we need your time, treasure and talent. On the topic of “treasure,” we estimate that our next phase of work – outreach through six sub-regional Town Halls, independent financial analysis and robust polling and political analysis – will require a budget of at least $100,000. We look to you and the organizations you represent to support this effort with modest amounts of funding – $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000, based on the size of your organization and what you can afford to invest.
To put our wallet where my words are, the Leadership Group is contributing $3,000 in cash along with in-kind staff support for six months of one full-time equivalent.