Caltrain is one of the only commuter rail services in the U.S. without a permanent and stable source of operation funding. This creates financial volatility, uncertainty, and difficulty to expand Caltrain capacity and service. A January 2018 Silicon Valley Survey revealed 76% support across the 3 Caltrain counties for a permanent 1/8 cent sales tax that would fund the operations, maintenance and capital improvements needed to dramatically expand Caltrain capacity from 62,000 to 270,000 riders per day. SB 797 (Jerry Hill) was passed in 2017 to allow a Regional Election of the three counties, but local agencies need to vote to place it on the ballot. a 3 county measure on the 2020 ballot is required to pass to achieve this objective.
The proposed bill authorizing the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, to levy a tax pursuant to the Transactions and Use Tax Law at a rate not to exceed 0.125%, with net revenues from the tax to be used by the board for operating and capital purposes of the Caltrain rail service, should be a consideration presented to the voters.
In addition, Regional Measure 3 (RM3) will be on the 2018 ballot in all of the 9 Bay Area counties. It will phase in a bridge toll increase of $1 by 2019, $1 by 2022, and $1 by 2025 to fund nearly $4.5 Billion in specific traffic relief projects throughout Silicon Valley & the Bay Area. Highlights of the Silicon Valley projects include: $500 Million to purchase additional BART cars.$375 Million for BART to Silicon Valley Phase II.$350 Million for the Caltrain Downtown SF Extension$130 Million for Dumbarton Rail/ACE Train/BART/Shinn Station.$130 Million to connect East-ridge light rail with BART at Alum Rock $100 Million towards the modernization and expansion of the San Jose Diridon Station. RM3 will also institute long awaited taxpayer oversight protections, such as creating a BART Inspector General to investigate BART finances.
Improvement of our Public Transportation System is necessary for many reasons. I have closely reviewed the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) cost-benefit analysis, this measure is very favorable to Santa Clara County. As presented, RM 3 provides for consideration to carpools and commuters, and is language I also greatly support.
Our Public Transportation System is currently not adequate. While I firmly believe we should consider other sources for funding infrastructure as well, the voters should be allowed to have a say. Taxation is not the only source of funding infrastructure; I remind you of my previous stated position regarding Impact Fees.
I believe San Jose should be setting the standard in all areas, including transportation. We have the best and brightest minds attracted to our area, and we should be pursuing a transportation system that reflects our cutting-edge abilities. We have all experienced the traffic congestion that plagues the residents of San Jose and up the Peninsula.