On Tuesday, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to keep the option open for the Caltrain board to put a 1/8 cent sales tax on the ballot in November, if polling shows that it is feasible.
Supervisor Dave Pine, who sits on the Caltrain board, introduced the discussion with comments that the Covid recession is obviously a very problematic time put a measure on the ballot, and if the board had to vote this week, they would vote no. He noted that the BOS decision did not authorize a ballot measure, but it was one of six approvals of 6 partner county and transit agency boards needed to keep the option open for Caltrain to decide by this August. The schedule for the remaining board approvals is listed here.
Pine and Caltrain’s Chief Communications officer noted that the Covid pandemic was causing a crisis for Caltrain’s budget, which in nonpandemic times received about 2/3 of its revenue from fares, and most of the remainder from 3 transit agency partners that are also facing financial disasters due to the pandemic.
Supervisor Canepa, said that he had struggled with the decision, but decided to vote yes because “the region can’t live without Caltrain.”