Caltrain Polls Gauge Reaction To Proposed Sales Tax Increase

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Caltrain (Lucius Kwok)

(Lucius Kwok)

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Would you pay a higher sales tax to keep Caltrain from running off the rails? That is the question that some Bay Area residents are being asked by pollsters, even as the agency plans for record spending.

San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara County residents have been getting calls recently from a polling agency trying to figure out if they would support a four-year, one-tenth of a cent sales tax to help fund Caltrain. The transit agency barely closed a $30 million budget gap this year.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

”I would do it, because over the years they have cut back a lot of the staff and they’ve cut back a lot of the trains,” said Sherri Ortega of San Jose.

The poll was ordered by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and President and CEO Carl Guardino said that’s because they are seeking a funding solution for Caltrain.

”We want to make sure that Caltrain stays viable, and that we don’t dump 41,000 daily trips back on Highway 101,” said Guardino. “That would be the equivalent of two and a half freeway lanes of traffic worth of cars back on our freeways.

Caltrain is the only Bay Area transit agency without a dedicated source of funding.

Meanwhile, instead of cutting costs, the cash-strapped agency plans to increase spending this next year by 16 percent. According to the San Jose Mercury News, most of that increase is going to pay for increased fuel costs and managers’ salaries.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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