Caltrain ponders budget proposal that would stave off cuts, closures 

Caltrain’s board of directors could approve a plan Thursday that would completely stave off service reductions and station closures.

Just a month ago, Caltrain — faced with a $30 million budget deficit — was considering slashing service so drastically that it would offer only weekday peak-time trains.

At a meeting earlier this month, the agency, working with regional partners, identified a plan that would have resulted in just 10 trains getting cut, although one of the losses would be Caltrain’s popular Baby Bullet line. That plan, which also included proposals to raise base fares by 25 cents and daily parking fees by $1, still left the agency with a $3.5 million deficit.

At the insistence of the agency’s directors, Caltrain’s staff was implored to find the remaining $3.5 million necessary to keep service levels at the current 86 trains. On Thursday, the agency is expected to unveil a funding plan that would identify that $3.5 million.

If the agency’s board approves that budget, Caltrain will avoid service cuts for this year, although its officials have said that this problem will arise repeatedly until it identifies a much-needed dedicated funding source.

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Will Reisman

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