Caltrain upgrades in jeopardy due to lack of funding from transit partners

Caltrain may have to cut back on some of its long-term capital projects, due to lower-than-expected funding contributions from its fellow transit partners.

The railroad operator has proposed a preliminary capital budget — covering projects like infrastructure maintenance, legal costs and high-speed rail implementation — of $64.6 million. However, the agency has only identified $51.9 million for the program from local, state and federal sources.

Caltrain officials had made a request that the remaining $12.7 million come from its three funding partners — the Valley Transportation Agency, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and SamTrans — with each agency contributing $4.2 million each.

However, the VTA said it can only give $3.13 million, and the SFMTA only offered up $2.7 million. SamTrans could allocate $4 million, bringing the preliminary total to $9.8 million.

Unless some extra funding can be found, Caltrain will have to put off some upgrades. Projects to keep its trains in a state of good repair could be cut back, and planned station upgrades at Sunnyvale and 22nd Street Station would be delayed. A worst-case scenario would result in $4 million being stripped from the state of good repair program, a plan that already had $4 million reduced from it due to Caltrain’s budget problems from last year.

On Thursday, the agency’s board of directors will discuss potential impacts of the agency’s’ capital budget issues.

In April, Caltrain approved an operating budget — which covers its day-to-day service — by plugging a $30 million deficit without reducing service.

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