I love trains, and I also love irony.
Back in the late ’70s, when our collective community was concerned about rapid population growth, some “progressive” leaders fought back efforts to revive the “Suntan Special,” a train that would have transported people to work over the hill during the week and allowed thousands of tourists to avoid flooding Highway 17 and our local streets with polluting auto traffic on the weekends, all in the name of preventing such growth. Well, they stopped that train from being built out, one that would have been financially feasible, and likely crowded with commuters and tourists. It made sense, and would have made a real difference!
Growth happened anyway, and now, ironically, many of the same “progressives” are saying that we should preserve unused tracks between Davenport and Watsonville in hopes that one day it will become financially feasible to build out a commuter rail that will do little to reduce the daily horror show commute on Highway 1. They want to prevent our community from using this resource to provide a safe and effective bike/pedestrian/wheelchair-safe trail for millions of dollars less cost than one that avoids taking up unused damaged tracks that could otherwise be sold as scrap metal that could, in turn, be used to pay for transit improvements.
Instead of being fiscally reckless by potentially investing over a billion dollars in a train that only those with higher incomes will use, let’s pour resources into expanding and modernizing our Metro bus system, building a bus-on-shoulder system on Highway 1, and reducing fares to encourage ridership. Let’s railbank the corridor and quickly build out a trail that will provide a safe way for cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, etc. to avoid having to navigate on auto-congested city streets. That is what I would call progressive! And your yes vote on Measure D helps to make that happen.
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