.Letter to the Editor: Left Out

A letter to the editor of Good Times

A letter in your June 22 issue that attacked an excellent GT article in the previous week’s issue succeeds in getting everything wrong. The writer explains that if a train were viable, it would already be in operation. In his view, capitalism and its markets deliver the most efficient goods and services, including in the transportation sector. All he leaves out is the massive subsidies that governments at all levels have delivered to make the automobile our primary means of transportation: subsidies to roads, parking, housing and the automobile industry itself, dysfunctional urban and suburban planning and a transportation system that is responsible for at least 30% of the worldwide climate change crisis that threatens our very existence on the planet. Rail systems disappeared across America because of a systematic conspiracy (yes, conspiracy) by the automobile, tire and oil industries to replace well-functioning streetcar and train systems with the private automobile. Everywhere else around the globe, public transit, primarily based on rail, is the primary means of transportation. 

Mike Rotkin 

RTC/Former Santa Cruz Mayor Santa Cruz


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4 COMMENTS

    • I believe you are totally wrong about that. We do need to rethink our transportation needs – specially as it relies too much on cars.

      • The RTC has proven with its many studies that a rail will hardly put a dent in traffic congestion. We don’t have and never will have the density to make if feasible. Personal transportation will not be disappearing anytime soon. With near future technological advances, this will be more prolific. The rail will be nothing but a rich man’s toy, as seen in Sonoma-Marin, ‘SMART” train. Westside people want to hop on a train during rush hour to go to Capitola for dinner. The first/last mile has never been seriously addressed. RTC studies show that rail is the least efficient during rush hour and takes almost as long as Hwy 1 when including first/last mile complications.

  1. A prior commenter has imagined Rotkin’s points could be dismissed with a tired, “socialist” dog whistle. Hopefully, few in this community fall for that nonsense.

    In fact, Rotkin’s apt point that “Rail systems disappeared across America because of a systematic conspiracy by the automobile, tire and oil industries to replace well-functioning streetcar and train systems with the private automobile,” is spot on. And “Everywhere else around the globe, public transit, primarily based on rail, is the primary means of transportation,” is right on too.

    Thank goodness Santa Cruz County voters also got it right. They unequivocally opposed via supermajority vote, 2022 Greenway Measure D that attempted to destroy both our local rail system and its future connection to our entire Statewide rail network.

    Now that voters have resoundingly reiterated all their past support for rail, hopefully our legislators and RTC will quit dragging their feet. It’s time to expedite implementation of both our rail and trail as warranted by our the strong political will reflected in the results of the recent ballot measure. Let’s stay engaged, hold them to account, and move them along.

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