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October 22, 2020

Comments

Joe

Measure RR has passed. Here's part of the Chron article:

Caltrain, hemorrhaging money during the pandemic, won its bid for a temporary lifeline and long-term financial future with the support of voters in three counties for a sales tax raise.

Voters in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties approved Measure RR with 70% voting for and 30% against. The measure required approval from two-thirds of voters.
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And this is interesting:

The Committee to Save Caltrain raised $2.3 million as of two weeks before the election from a mix of unions, advocacy groups, companies and individuals, with $100,000 from Google and $300,000 from Facebook. Pine gave a personal loan of $500,000 on Oct. 19 to fund TV ads while pledged donations came in, he said. The campaign’s budget is $2.5 million.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/local-politics/article/Caltrain-winning-bid-for-crucial-tax-increase-15699778.php

Handle Bard

This is pretty funny. The climate warriors and the transit warriors are at war with each other. I had not heard the 60% telecommuting demand but the transit guys see an oncoming headlight. Todays Daily Journal has A proposed regional mandate for large companies and businesses toward having 60% of employees work from home is being revised after pushback from state representatives, local officials and regional transportation agencies over the last few weeks.

Since a meeting in September when staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC, unveiled the mandate as part of the Plan Bay Area 2050 first Blueprint draft, they have had discussions with businesses, Caltrain and elected officials. MTC staff are working on solutions to provide further flexibility for employees while still meeting state greenhouse gas emission targets. MTC is now considering an alternative option to provide more of a cafeteria-style approach for each employer to choose a suite of commute trip reduction options, rather than relying solely on telecommuting.

Joe

There is a very pointed LTTE in today's Daily Post:

Dear Editor: This could only happen in California. A heavily-subsidized railroad sees a drop to nearly zero ridership and a crushing revenue shortfall. With only tax dollars flowing in, the railroad makes a token reduction in service.

Then, one of the railroad's board members loans a half-million dollars of his personal money to the campaign to hoodwink the voters into paying yet more taxes to fund his sinking ship!

Who do these people think they are fooling? Caltrain is a corrupt agency that needs to be abolished! Furlough every single employee and especially all of the administrators. Put the assets under new management, strictly to allow the continuation of capital projects. Take delivery of the new rolling stock and put it in storage. Sell off the existing rolling stock to provide maintenance revenue, and then, and only when the time is right, resume operations with a fully upgraded railroad.

What is currently happening with Caltrain is nothing less than criminal in nature.

Greg David
Mountain View

I don't know Mr. David, but he appears to have some operational experience with asset intensive businesses. A bit left out is the new rolling stock is the electric stock while the old is the diesel stock that has to be disposed of regardless.

Handle Bard

There was chatter this week about Caltrain and BART getting closer maybe with a new agency. Neither of these are managed well now. Tying them together is like handing extra weights to the albatross around your neck.

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