Letter: SJ BART official on VTA and Caltrain funding
- Published Wednesday, April 21, 2010, by the San Mateo Daily Journal
Letters to the Editor
The facts about Caltrain in Silicon Valley
Contrary to statements made in Sue Lempert's column ("The little engine that should be saved" in the April 12 edition of the Daily Journal), VTA has not made a decision to cut funding to Caltrain. VTA strongly supports Caltrain and has done so since its inception. VTA operates on a two year budget cycle, with the current cycle covering July 1, 2009-June 31, 2011. This fiscal year, the first of the two-year cycle, VTA provided $16 million from its operations budget for Caltrain operations. VTA has also budgeted funds for next fiscal year.
Given SamTrans' recent announcement that they have to cut funding by 70 percent, the VTA Board will have to make a decision regarding our future contribution. This will not be an easy decision. VTA pays its share of Caltrain operating costs from the VTA operating budget. This source of funding has been seriously impacted by declining sales tax revenue, reduced ridership and diversions by the state. Additional statements in Ms. Lempert's column regarding the impact of the BART extension to San Jose on Caltrain are inaccurate.
The BART Silicon Valley Project is planned to connect with Caltrain to provide rail service that circles the Bay Area. Construction of the BART project comes from separate funding sources comprised of local, state and federal dollars. Currently, VTA is requesting $900 million in federal dollars for the first 10 miles. A total of $649 million has been committed to the project from the state. Operations of the BART extension will be funded from a dedicated 1/8-cent sales tax approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2008.
The letter writer is the communications director for BART Silicon Valley
[BATN: See also:
Column: Saving Caltrain in best interests of all; Peninsula HSR