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3/22/2011



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain concludes community meetings on fiscal crisis


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Caltrain officials have concluded a series of community meetings and a public hearing on proposed service cuts and possible fare increases aimed at bridging a potential $30 million budget deficit this year.

The agency's staff is reviewing hundreds of public comments gathered in recent months and preparing a proposal for the board to consider adopting at its April 7 meeting, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement. Agency officials also are seeking alternative funding sources that would allow the commuter railroad to maintain as much service as possible.

Under the current budget scenario, the agency proposes it would operate 48 trains only during the weekly commute and close up to seven stations. A 25-cent fare increase also is under consideration.

Caltrain relies on contributions from three partner agencies — the city and county of San Francisco, the San Mateo County Transit District and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority — to balance its budget.

Last year, SamTrans reduced its annual contribution to Caltrain. This year, SamTrans is expected to cut its contribution by about $4.8 million. If the other partners reduce their contributions, Caltrain estimates it could face a deficit of $30 million in the current fiscal year.




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