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Caltrain’s board last week approved a nearly $43 million interim operating budget and a $19.1 million interim capital budget for the first quarter fiscal-year 2021.
The $42.9 million interim operating budget includes a projected $8 million in farebox revenue, representing an $18.5 million decrease over Q1 farebox revenue in FY2020. This comes as the California agency grapples with a decline in ridership from 65,000 passengers per day to just 1,300 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, agency officials said in a press release.
To save on operational costs amid the ridership decline, Caltrain temporarily reduced its weekday schedule from 92 trains per day to the current 42 trains. The railroad’s contract operator has also shifted staff from traditional operations to deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects.
Caltrain’s $19.1 million interim capital budget includes funding for Marin Street Bridge repairs in San Francisco, wayside bike parking improvements and a 22nd Street Station accessibility feasibility study.
The approved revenue and expenditures will result in a $20.2 million deficit for Q1. To alleviate the shortage, Caltrain will rely on funding provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to recoup some of the losses, agency officials said.
Caltrain has put a hold on determining a final budget for the remainder of FY2021 until September, agency officials said in a press release. The FY2021 budget cycle begins on July 1.
“This strategy will allow for a more nimble approach as we anticipate greater clarity on the pandemic’s financial impact and the federal government’s response in the coming months,” Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett said.