As readers in the Bay Area may know, Caltrain is facing short-term financial crisis. Service cuts have been proposed that would severely gut the usefulness of Caltrain as a transit service. Last week I attended a meeting with a couple of elected officials and local transit advocates to identify opportunities to prevent these drastic cuts.
What I found at the meeting was shocking. Sue Lempert, former mayor of San Mateo, member of the MTC board, said that Caltrain riders very rarely come to meetings, even though the current situation is a serious crisis. I believe that this isn’t because riders don’t care about the situation, because people feel helpless and do not know what they can do.
I found out yesterday that there is a key VTA board meeting Thursday May 6 at 5:30pm with an agenda item about financial support for Caltrain. In the immediate term, VTA’s support is critical to mitigate the Caltrain cuts, according to Sue Lempert, who is one of our most experienced local leaders on the issue and has the all the budget details at her fingertips. (Support is needed in all 3 counties that Caltrain serves: San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, and VTA’s support needs the most bolstering).
If you live in Santa Clara County and can attend the VTA meeting and speak in support of Caltrain – this is a key moment to do so. If you happen to know someone on the VTA board, now is a good time to give them a call.
* Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, County Government Center 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose
* The issue is item 7 on the agenda: http://www.vta.org/inside/boards/packets/2010/05_may/bod_050610_agendapacket.pdf
Messages to communicate include:
** A functioning Caltrain is key to viable public transit on the Peninsula.
** VTA’s support is important to keep Caltrain running until more stable funding is found.
** Encourage that the VTA board to engage in working meetings with MTC, SamTrans and San Francisco to develop strategies to save Caltrain
If you are able to attend, please leave a comment that you could go. If you can’t go but know someone who can, forward this post to them. This is important to keep viable public transit on the Peninsula.