Measure D will waste taxpayer money
Supporters of Measure D always promise us that we can railbank our county rail and eventually reinstall rail at a later date. They cite Denton County, Texas as an example of this happening.
Since I lived in Denton years ago, I contacted the Denton County Transportation Agency to learn what they’ve done. Their old rail line was railbanked, the rails were removed, and a trail was installed. As the Federal railbanking law requires, any trail built this way is by definition, temporary. Subsequently, the agency tore out the trail and built a light rail after which they rebuilt the trail.
In the end, Denton created rail-with-trail, the outcome we are trying to create for Santa Cruz now with competent planning and without all of the wasteful interim steps in the Denton model. But Greenway/Measure D supporters promote the wasteful Denton model and Measure D prohibits rail planning.
If we are forced to follow the Greenway/Denton model, we would waste millions of taxpayer dollars putting in infrastructure and then tearing it out, and delaying the ultimate trail for many years. The city of Santa Cruz’s initial cost estimate for just 2.2 miles of new trail in the City shows that the Greenway/Denton model could add more than $10 million per mile to the cost.
If tax-averse Texas can find a way to finance rail-with-trail without causing taxpayer revolt, then surely we can too. If we eventually want a train (or any other transit system in the corridor), don’t waste millions of county taxpayer dollars. Reject Measure D’s prohibitions on rail planning. We don’t want the expensive Greenway/Denton model. Vote NO on measure D.
Richard Stover, Santa Cruz
Measure D is the right way
On June 7, Santa Cruz County will vote on Measure D, the Greenway Initiative, which instructs the county to prioritize an interim bike and pedestrian trail on the 32-mile rail corridor.
Based on Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission findings, our county does not have the population to get funding or support for a train. In addition, the rail corridor does not serve most of the county’s major employers like Dominican Hospital, UCSC or Cabrillo College, nor is there a large metropolitan area to connect to. According to Santa Cruz County traffic studies, a train would remove less than 2% of the traffic on Highway 1, and that assumes ridership projections are met, which is unlikely.
We, the diverse volunteers for Greenway, don’t see how Santa Cruz County can afford to spend $1.3 Billion to build and operate a rail system (that only has one track) for the next 30 years while METRO services and our surface streets continue to degrade. The county should use the money already allocated via the transportation tax approved in 2016 to improve METRO, build Bus-on-Shoulder on Highway 1, and turn the unused corridor into a three-lane, multi-use Greenway, where residents can commute safely to work and school, and enjoy exercise and the beautiful coastline. Please vote Yes on Measure D.
Della Davis, Watsonville
Downtown Watsonville is dying
I despair for a Watsonville that can allow the new Elderday center on our Main Street, which in any other town on the planet would be regarded as prime real estate.
What the hell were they thinking? On one hand, they are attempting to upscale Watsonville and they then commit this ridiculous usage?
My wife and I are thoroughly disgusted.
Peter Mackeonis, Watsonville
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