While everyone agrees that restoration of passenger service from Gilroy to Hollister would benefit San Benito County residents, I believe it is error to plan to fund it in the same manner as our sister counties do. It would be cheaper for local government and taxpayers to buy Mercedes sedans for each Caltrain rider on the route. In fact, it would be cheaper to buy each one a median-priced home in Gilroy than to pay the taxes to extend Caltrain to Hollister. San Benito County lacks the population and tax base to support public sector passenger rail transportation, which would have a bigger annual deficit than VTA bus service.
Caltrain and VTA are so bankrupt that they are proposing to repeal Prop. 13’s super-majority vote requirement to add new taxes to run their Soviet-style transit systems. Why would local government in a small, rural county want to duplicate their wasteful mistakes? Instead, why not have restoration of rail passenger service in the same manner that it was brought here originally in the 1870s? Combining freight revenue with unremunerative passenger fares is how to do it. Following the Caltrain funding model is a recipe for disaster. Plan for private-sector solutions, and not damn future generations to suffer under public sector, Soviet-style transit in any mode. Following the bankrupt ideas of VTA will earn the condemnation of future generations.
Joseph P. Thompson