SamTrans

San Francisco, Santa Clara Withdrawal From Transit Review: “Deeply Disappointing Drama,” SamTrans Says

San Carlos, CA – SamTrans Chair of the Board of Directors Charles Stone issued this statement after several Joint Powers Board partner agencies abruptly halted a government review process Friday that had been agreed upon by the full Caltrain Board:

“SamTrans is deeply disappointed that its partner agencies have abruptly halted the $2 million plus governance review process in their refusal to participate in the long-planned workshop #3. This process was agreed to by the Caltrain Board. This refusal to hear information from staff and consultants today comes as great shock.

“The orchestrated abandonment of today’s meeting to address governance issues is puzzling for several reasons:

“First, the renewed effort by SamTrans to inquire about efforts to ensure reimbursement of a decades-old debt cannot be a surprise to our partner agencies that have all acknowledged such reimbursement is owed.

“Second, Santa Clara and San Francisco have long insisted that the investment reimbursement obligation has no bearing on the review of the governance structure. And although the San Mateo County members of the JPB were accused of withdrawing from the governance review, all three of its JPB members were present and prepared to engage in today’s discussion.

“Third, it would seem that our partners are staging an oversized drama here. SamTrans sent no demand for immediate payment or any itemization of debt. Rather, all it has done, as a good partner seeking transparency, is write letters asking what efforts have been and are being made, as long promised, to reimburse SamTrans for its substantial investments over 30 years.

“Our partners’ refusal to participate in today’s meeting is simply a stark example of why, on behalf of San Mateo County taxpayers, SamTrans has had to demand their attention to the historical failures and seek collections of long past due obligations. The same can be said for the failure of CCSF and VTA to fund the necessary system maintenance costs in this year’s budget. In the FY 21-22 Capital Budget, CCSF and VTA contributions to the Capital Budget were $0. San Mateo County said that we were willing to make our $5 million contribution if the other member agencies made theirs.

San Mateo County and SamTrans have lived up to their agreements. We hope that our partners will re-examine their commitment to the JPB and be prepared to advance the current business of the agency concurrently with fulfilling their promise to satisfy outstanding debts.

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