• Maya Shaffer

Vote Yes on Measure RR

Updated: Jan 12

2020 has been a rollercoaster of events. A global pandemic that has resulted in over 200,000 deaths so far has been taxing not only to our local small businesses, schools and students, but also to our local, public transportation.

COVID has put a huge strain on Caltrain, which provides transportation for tens of thousands of people every year. Luckily, there is a solution. Measure RR. Measure RR will raise the sales tax from 8.5% to 8.625% for 30 years, during which time it is estimated to bring in $100 million a year. If the measure is passed, it will not take effect until after it is deemed safe enough to interact in public and with crowds ( ).

This year, there has been a 97.7% drop in rides through Caltrain. In April 2019, the averagethe average ridership on a weekday was 67,728; in April 2020, it was only 1,547. In April 2019, there were a total of 1.9 million rides; in April 2020, there were just 38,858 rides. The result? According to predictions by Palo Alto Daily Mail, farebox revenue will be down by $18.5 million (70%), parking revenue by $1.2 million (90%), and shuttle revenue by $257,800 (41%). Due to this significant decline, Caltrain made the decision to decrease their available trains from 92 to 42.

Let’s say you don’t regularly take Caltrain, or for that matter, any form of public transportation. How would this measure benefit you? If this bill is passed, not only will Caltrain be able to use all 92 trains again, they will be able to have even more trains, routes and stops. This means more train stops at more locations. This keeps even more people off the road.

At some point in our lives, most of us have found ourselves stuck in traffic in the morning, struggling to keep our eyes open while trudging along through the congested lanes, waiting desperately for the caffeine to kick in and eliminate the dreaded Monday morning blues. Conveniently, Caltrain can help with that: before COVID-19 struck, Caltrain helped dramatically to decrease congestion on highways 101, 92, 87, 280, and 85.

More trains and routes means more jobs. And, because the trains are one of the most efficient ways of transporting people and products, having more of these trains, and more riders, will greatly reduce CO2 emissions. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “to achieve a similar reduction in carbon emissions, every household in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles combined would have to completely stop using electricity.” By switching to public transportation, you alone can reduce your carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds.

If Measure RR is passed: Caltrain will expand its services from six trains an hour to eight. As stated by Ballot Pedia, the trains will run from San Francisco to Gilroy, covering the San Francisco peninsula and South Bay. It will be made affordable for people of all different income levels.

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