Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Mar 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall

ellen_pirieIf or when the rail line between Davenport and Watsonville is purchased, what will be the best use for it? How would it benefit the community?

The possible uses of the rail right-of-way are: 1) to provide freight service, 2) for passenger rail service of some sort or 3) for a bicycle and pedestrian trail. Right now, which option or options would most benefit the community is a question that is wide open and will have to be decided by the Santa Cruz County Regional Trasporation Commission (RTC) in the future.

The future of freight service in Santa Cruz County is very much up in the air with the termination of shipping by the CEMEX cement plant in Davenport. Unless the cement plant resumes shipping by rail, it is unlikely that freight rail service will continue for long in the county. Without freight service to and from the cement plant, the small amount of other shippers on the line is insufficient to financially sustain the service.

Although Santa Cruz County does not have the population density to support regular passenger rail service at this time, it is important to preserve the rail line corridor for the future. We don't know what new rail or other means of transportation might be available in the future that would fit Santa Cruz County's population and geography.

There is also wide support for a trail along the rail corridor that could be used by residents and tourists to access different areas along the line. A bicycle ride on a rail trail from Santa Cruz to Capitola would take only minutes and be free from automobile traffic, making it safer and far more enjoyable.

All of these ideas will have to be researched and considered if the rail right-of-way is purchased by the RTC. The decisions about use of the rail line will open some doors and close others, and it is important that those decisions be based on factual information and good public input.


Financially, who is responsible for the acquisition and how will it be covered?

It is the RTC that is in negotiations with Union Pacific for the purchase of the rail corridor. The RTC is a separate public entity [than the county]. The RTC has county, city and Metro representation on its board.

The RTC has lined up state and federal grant funds to cover the purchase price, as well as $5 million in repairs and upgrades to the trestles. I believe that the real question is what will the costs be in the future to maintain and operate the rail line, and how will those be paid.

As long as there is freight service on the line, the operator, be it Union Pacific or another freight line operator, will be responsible for maintenance of the right-of-way. Likewise, if there were ever passenger service on the line, the operator would be responsible for maintenance of the line. In either case, the operator would also pay the RTC for the right to run trains on the line. That income would go to cover costs not included in routine maintenance such as insurance, staff costs, and upgrades.

In addition, there are many leases of land along the rail line. Income from those leases would go to the RTC to cover costs not paid for by the freight service operator.

If there is no train service on the line, maintenance requirements and costs would be drastically reduced. However, even with no rail service there would be some costs. Those would be paid from the lease income and state and federal funds awarded to the RTC.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia