Reported by DAVID B. KUTROSKY, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
NOTE: This article contains important future state financial information that Mr. Kutrosky discussed at the RailPAC-NARP Sacramento meeting, which will have impact on the state operated trains.
The Capitol Corridor December 2009 results are mixed with a continued ridership decline compared to December 2008, but for the second month in a row revenue was above the prior year with a strong on-time performance (OTP) result as well. With monthly ridership declines beginning to subside and positive revenue results, these indicators are pointing towards a recovery in service performance for the Capitol Corridor. As stated previously, the Capitol Corridor is being negatively impacted by the poor economic conditions in Northern California region (primarily high unemployment) as well as the continuing “Friday Furloughs”, in which state Government offices are closed three (3) Fridays per month (reducing Capitol Corridor ridership by 3% – 5%).
Of significant concern is the Governor’s gas tax swap in the proposed FY010-11 State Budget. This swap would eliminate the Public Transportation Account (PTA) and replace it with increased excise gas tax. In this proposal, operating funds would be available to support the state’s 3 intercity train services with remaining PTA funds for two years through FY 2011-12; however, starting in FY 2012-13 the financing for the operation of the these trains would have to compete with services in the General Fund.
Since this proposal would basically eliminate the only dedicated funding source for the state’s intercity passenger rail program, it could thereby jeopardize the State’s current and future FRA High Speed/Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program capital grant applications as one of the key requirements to receive grant funds is to identify long-term dedicated operating funds for the Capitol Corridor and the other intercity passenger rail services. Staff is working with transit agencies and other affected parties to defeat this proposal.
Capitol Corridor (December 2009):
Pacific Surfliners (December 2009):
San Joaquins (December 2009):