San Fran Governments Wants MORE $$ for Fewer Riders for Trains

At a time folks are fleeing the City and fleeing the region, government still wants to raise taxes for trains that have few riders.  Folks are either leaving the region or working from home.  They do not want to be on dirty, crime ridden trains, facing virus and other diseases.  They want the safety of their own cars or stay at home to work.  Trains are yesterday’s boondoggle.  Stop the fraud of higher taxes to payoff unions and special interests, along with giant corporations that donate to politicians.

“San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties will vote on Measure RR, a one-eighth-cent sales tax to be collected for the next 30 years, whose revenue from which would provide critical funding for Caltrain. While supporters say the rail service is at risk of shutting if the measure does not pass, this is not an emergency measure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which has cost Caltrain the majority of its riders. Opponents of the measure point to that decrease in ridership as evidence that the need for this rail service has dropped and say it may never recover enough to justify the tax. Opponents also say that a sales tax will disproportionately affect those already most hard-hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

They would do better to sell it to private industry and let the market determine the need—not graft and corruption.

Sales Tax for Caltrain Improvements to Face Three Counties’ Voters

Laura Wenus, San Francisco Public Press,   9/26/20   

San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties will vote on Measure RR, a one-eighth-cent sales tax to be collected for the next 30 years, whose revenue from which would provide critical funding for Caltrain. While supporters say the rail service is at risk of shutting if the measure does not pass, this is not an emergency measure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which has cost Caltrain the majority of its riders. Opponents of the measure point to that decrease in ridership as evidence that the need for this rail service has dropped and say it may never recover enough to justify the tax. Opponents also say that a sales tax will disproportionately affect those already most hard-hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Adina Levin, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Caltrain and cofounder and advocacy director of the nonprofit Seamless Bay Area, talked with “Civic” about how the measure got on the ballot and what it would enable Caltrain to do. Eric Garris, a San Francisco resident who submitted the official opposition to the measure, lays out his argument against the tax.

“In the Bay Area with public transportation, we have historically tended to overemphasize capital investments, overemphasize adding extensions to the system and underinvested in funding actually running the system. It’s a really important concept for our region to understand that the goal of public transportation isn’t just solving peak commute congestion for drivers. The goal of public transportation is having a convenient service that works for people who are dependent on transit and that is convenient for anyone who wants to travel.”

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. You can tell Mr. Frank is either a closet socialist or unaware on financial matters. Never mind the impressive fact that he talks about things he has no personal knowledge on.

    Caltrain is a unique operator in California. While it is true BART, Muni, and VTA have significant problems with not only crime, but are heavily subsidized and poorly run. Caltrain is not. In fact, Caltrain had a fare box recover ratio of about 70% (Compared to about 15% for VTA). That means prior to the pandemic, the railroad was just shy of being fully funded off of ridership alone. Also conductors on Caltrain frequently check everyone to ensure they paid their fares and have been quick to boot anyone off the train for causing any disturbances.

    It is unfortunate that Mr. Frank has decided to double down on the use of cars and freeways which are entirely government subsidized through outrageous gas taxes and DMV Fees (minus a few toll roads in Orange County). Personally, I find it hard for anyone to claim to be a true conservative while backing a transportation model that is run by a state bureaucracy, faces billions in deferred maintenance, and repeatedly mismanages my tax money.

    By the way, Mr. Frank talks about giving it to a private enterprise to run. That already happened in 2012. Its called Herzog Transportation Services. Where has Mr. Frank been?

    My take: Pass Measure RR, let the voters of those counties take care of their infrastructure problems. If that railroad goes under, the state will just try to tax us rural voters more to pay for Bay Area Freeways we may never use.

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