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California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law a bill that enables Caltrain's board to ask voters to approve a sales tax measure that would increase the commuter-rail agency's funding.Authored by California State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), the law gives the board the authority to place a sales tax of no more than one-eighth of a cent before voters in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The ballot measure requires approval from each county's board of supervisors and transit governing board, as well as approval from two-thirds of 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 in a press release. The bill also could help support an increase in rail service resulting from Caltrain's electrification project, Hartnett said. That project is under construction.The railroad also is working to complete its business plan, which will identify funding methods, governance, management and commercial strategies to help facilitate a "long-term vision for expanded Caltrain service," agency officials said.
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