A clean start is exactly what Caltrain needed. Not long after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors refused to consider putting a tax increase on the November ballot to help save the regional train service, elected officials in counties served by Caltrain came to an agreement. San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties now want to put a “clean” tax measure on the ballot. A “clean” tax comes without changes in Caltrain’s governing structure, which was the sticking point a couple of weeks ago.
Officials have until Aug. 7 to approve the new plan. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the move on Aug. 4, and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors also gave it the green light. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider the measure, which is still one-eighth of a cent, during a special meeting on Aug. 7.
A separate resolution addressing government structure is expected to be reviewed and considered by the Caltrain board on Aug. 6. The resolution contains nine proposed rules or bylaws, and will allow the Caltrain board to approve up to $40 million in tax revenue annually by a simple majority. The money will be used for operations and capital expenses. More money could be approved with a super majority. This setup will be in place until a more permanent solution is reached that would allow Caltrain to allocate all tax revenue with a majority vote. The tax measure is expected to generate as much as $108 million a year.
An executive director of Caltrain also must be appointed, as well as an independent counsel and auditor.
The resolution also calls on Caltrain to make attempts to reimburse San Mateo County for its investment in the railroad if a tax measure is approved.