February 12th, 2018
SAN JOSE, CA – Three out of four registered voters polled in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties say they’re willing to pay a higher sales tax to fund an expansion and modernization of Caltrain, particularly if it has any impact on crushing congestion on Highways 101, I-280 and the El Camino Real corridor, according to the new “Silicon Valley Poll.”
The poll conducted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Newsgroup with substantial funding from Facebook, asked voters if they would support a measure on the 2020 ballot that would provide funding for Caltrain service through a one-eighth cent sales tax if it would ease traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and double Caltrain ridership. An unprecedented 76 percent said yes they would vote to support such a measure.
The official language for the measure reads as follows:
“For the purpose of easing traffic on Highways 101, I-280 and the El Camino Real corridors, and reducing air pollution by converting Caltrain rail service to run on cleaner-burning electricity rather than disel fuel, and doubling Caltrain ridership capacity between San Clara, San Mateo counties, shall the Caltrain Joint Powers Board enact a one-eighth cent sales tax with annual audits overseen by an Independent Citizens Watchdog Committee to ensure accountability and project compliance?”
Would you vote for “Yes” or “No” on this measure?
“These most recent results only emphasize an ongoing desire to finally have a train, running since 1863 when Abraham Lincoln was president, with a permanent dedicated revenue stream not only for its operations, which would only be a portion of the funds raised, but to grow service in a way that would be transformational both for Caltrain and the Hwy. 101 parking lot. This is critical for the Bay Area innovation economy,” said CEO and President Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
As it stands Caltrain has no dedicated funding source instead, transit districts in the three counties voluntarily contribute annual payments to Caltrain. This measure would effectively generate approximately $100 million per year. The revenue collected will cover the annual contributions ($30-40 million) of operations funding, providing roughly $60-70 million per year in order to help fund the capital improvements that greatly increase the capacity and efficiency of Caltrain’s system.
The Caltrain Corridor closely parallels Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose. Highway 101 is one of the most congested highway corridors in the entire country and is an economic juggernaut, important to all of California:
- The Caltrain Corridor between San Jose and San Francisco is home to 1.6 million jobs
- It produces 20 percent of the sales tax revenue generated in the entire state;
- It produces 13 percent of our State’s Gross Domestic Product;
- It produces 53 percent of all the patents filed from California.
The poll of 656 registered voters in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was conducted by J. Moore Methods Inc. Public Opinion Research for Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area News Group. Silicon Valley Leadership Group provided funding for the poll with significant financial support from Facebook. The poll, conducted from Dec. 27th to Jan. 9th, has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.