My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could ...

My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could be a financial disaster

There are 87 comments on the Eureka Times Standard story from Dec 11, 2010, titled My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could be a financial disaster. In it, Eureka Times Standard reports that:

"California's High-Speed Rail System" sure sounds cool! But there is a question we should be asking.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Eureka Times Standard.

“I don't know who I am”

Since: Dec 07

Fortuna

#41 Dec 14, 2010
Middle of the road wrote:
<quoted text>
Best use of the old rail line between Scotia and Blue Lake would be for light rail. More people would use it than if it were a bike path.
Anyone notice fuel prices are up 30 cents a gallon since the end of the summer vacation season?
In the north San Francisco Bay Area (Marin, Sonoma Counties) they've not been able to make a go of light passenger rail despite a whole lot more public interest than they have around here. I agree it would be a good idea; I just don't see the Scotia to Blue Lake light rail happening.

The second thing to consider is again, the state of the rails. I'm not sure if they are now even adequate for freight use. As for passenger use, that's a much higher standard and I'm sure it would take a lot of work and money to make that happen.

Truly I am sympathetic with the pro-railroad crowd. It is a better way to move people and cargo over land than what we have now. Europe as a whole was wise not to let their rail systems go the way of the American railroads.

But the reality on the ground is the railroads (especially the local roads) are in such a state, they would need to be rebuilt from the ground up to be usable. I just don't see the political will to make it happen.
Cpetersen

Locust Grove, OK

#42 Dec 14, 2010
@the true: even a paved trail requires constant maintenance. What, you think trees will stop growing just because it's asphalt and not iron and wood? Who is going to pay for it? Everybody will with their taxes and very few will actually benefit. At least make some money and let ideas support (and pay) for themselves.

When you whack down all the heavy 20 yr old brush, it's no harder than mowing a lawn to maintain, really. Have you noticed how much of it is gone already? But anything will be a constant. In our dreary wet weather, rails are physically easier to maintain than patching holes all week when it starts to crumble. Are people THAT hard up for a trail when dozens of others already exist.

You may say you want "solace" when on a hike. Well so does everyone else apparently. You know what that really means? No one is ever on the trail but you. So I'll throw this one out: how about a user/access fee for it?
ekarider

Richmond, CA

#43 Dec 14, 2010
Cpetersen wrote:
Are people THAT hard up for a trail when dozens of others already exist.
It would be a boon to non motorized road users if there was another option between Eureka and Arcata other than what is currently available.
Middle of the road

Rancho Cordova, CA

#44 Dec 14, 2010
ekarider wrote:
<quoted text>
30 cents? What little I do pay attention to gas prices, I thought it was only 20 cents.
If you like supporting the terrorists go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you don't give a damn about the evironment go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If your life is such a waste that sitting in a traffic jam is an enhancement go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you like being a lemming who has to be told how to spend your money go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. ;-)
ekarider

Richmond, CA

#45 Dec 14, 2010
Middle of the road wrote:
<quoted text>
If you like supporting the terrorists go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you don't give a damn about the evironment go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If your life is such a waste that sitting in a traffic jam is an enhancement go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you like being a lemming who has to be told how to spend your money go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. ;-)
My apologies for not indicating that there was little sarcasm in my reply to you, and that I happen to commute by bicycle on a near daily basis, hence my paying little attention to gas prices.

Since: Feb 08

Hana, HI

#46 Dec 14, 2010
The True Anonymous wrote:
I lived in the Santa Rosa area for a number of years. There used to be a spur rail line running from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol that had not been used for decades. What they did with it was basically pour asphalt over the rail bed and got an instant bike trail.
I imagine the process was relatively cheap, since all the engineering was done over a century ago; just remove rails, apply asphalt and you’re done. There was even a bridge all ready there.

Now, the neat thing about an asphalt bike trail on the rail bed is that it preserves the rail bed from erosion and trees taking over. It keeps it in use for the public, and if on some really off chance the railroad is revived, the asphalt can be relatively easily removed and the rails replaced.
So, as far as this discussion is concerned, it seems to me a bike trail (used by everyone, not just bicyclists) would preserve the rail bed, get bicyclists off the freeway (which is a huge bonus right there) and get cars off the freeway.
So, what will it be? Bet on the forlorn hope of the railroad's return? Use the rail bed for a trail and preserve the rail bed? Or let it rot as it is?
Yes, the bike trail will not pay for itself. But then again, I've not seen the freeway pay for itself either.
Rails to trails projects are being done with great success all across the country.
In southern Marin we ripped out the old train tracks and built multi use paths back in the 70's. The problem is with the old tunnels. We have one in central Marin called the Cal Park tunnel that runs from the canal area in San Rafael to east Larkspur. They just opened it, it cost $27 million to complete for a 2 way bicycle/pedestrian tunnel that is only 12 feet wide.
An article in the Chronicle said that 800,000 people per year will use the tunnel, or 2191 people per day. It's a joke.
What's even more of a joke is that about the new high speed rail, the people of the peninsula are opposed to it and have filed lawsuits, professors have questioned the ridership figures, San Jose insisted that the train be put underground, and there is opposition in many other areas.
So now they just announced that they are going to downsize the line. Instead of running from L.A. to S.F., they are going to run a little 54 mile long high speed shortline out in the central valley from nowhere to Lompoc prison. So they can wisk those dangerous convicts 54 miles "in a jiffy".
I think financial disaster is being too polite.

“I don't know who I am”

Since: Dec 07

Fortuna

#47 Dec 14, 2010
Cpetersen:

I didn't say it would be free. It will still cost, and it will still require political will (which I don't see at the moment).

I'm just spit balling one solution to cover the problem we are discussing here.

An asphalt "cap" will prevent erosion and preserve the bed. The constant traffic will prevent any accumulation of leaves and branches. There will have to be maintenance, but probably less so that for an automobile road (but, I admit, that is a guess).

The bottom line, in my view, is this: We can argue and debate until the last trumpet calls us all to Heaven; but there the roadbed will sit, quietly deteriorating until it won't be of much use for anyone.
Save the Humans

Oakley, CA

#48 Dec 14, 2010
Dumboldts I salute you wrote:
Why would anyone in Humboldt care about what "real" California does. Humboldt gets way more revenue from the Government then is collected. Besides Humboldt already has High Speed Rail.Just take a drive anywhere, and e you will see plenty of people high on speed, and doing rails.
hahahaha, even though your post reduces my property values, that was f n funny.
Middle of the road

Rancho Cordova, CA

#49 Dec 14, 2010
ekarider wrote:
<quoted text>
My apologies for not indicating that there was little sarcasm in my reply to you, and that I happen to commute by bicycle on a near daily basis, hence my paying little attention to gas prices.
No offense taken by and/or implied by me. Thanks for doing your part. I'm going back to work in a couple of weeks and will be using public transportation as often as possible for all the reasons I mentioned in post 44.

Serious question, who pays for the roads you ride on since there's no tax on bicycles, the auto/truck drivers?
Dillinger

Eureka, CA

#50 Dec 14, 2010
Middle of the road wrote:
<quoted text>
If you like supporting the terrorists go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you don't give a damn about the evironment go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If your life is such a waste that sitting in a traffic jam is an enhancement go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. If you like being a lemming who has to be told how to spend your money go ahead and keep paying that 20 -30 cents more per gallon. ;-)
So are we to assume you don't have a car, never ride in some one else's car (truck, motor scooter, and gas propelled vehicle), never on a bus, plane, etc, etc.

I think Most of have a lot more of a life than you do by going and coming and getting wherever than you do.

Also I have read about supporting terrorists before. We import over 60 to 70 percent of our oil/gas from Canada. We have quite a bit yet of our own also from So. Amer. We get very little from Saudi, so I don't think we are doing much to support them.
ekarider

Richmond, CA

#51 Dec 14, 2010
Middle of the road wrote:
<quoted text>

Serious question, who pays for the roads you ride on since there's no tax on bicycles, the auto/truck drivers?
I was waiting for this very question to be asked, here's an interesting article to read:

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-27-why-a...

Since: Dec 07

Eureka, Ca

#52 Dec 14, 2010
Actually in Marin there is still railroad tracks, plus Marin and Sonoma county voters approved the SMART commuter train.

“I don't know who I am”

Since: Dec 07

Fortuna

#53 Dec 14, 2010
capdiamont wrote:
Actually in Marin there is still railroad tracks, plus Marin and Sonoma county voters approved the SMART commuter train.
Must have happened since I left (2007). Good.

Since: Feb 08

Hana, HI

#54 Dec 14, 2010
capdiamont wrote:
Actually in Marin there is still railroad tracks, plus Marin and Sonoma county voters approved the SMART commuter train.
Not exactly, Sonoma County approved the SMART train but it failed to get the 2/3 required votes in Marin, but with Joe Nation's creation of a special train tax district that combined the votes of both counties, Sonoma was able to override our votes. But now the whole scam has been exposed. It is unlikely that anything will be built. In case you haven't seen the news lately about SMART, here is an update:
http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20101210/O... 's-tracks

Since: Dec 07

Eureka, Ca

#55 Dec 14, 2010
Pulipaca wrote:
<quoted text>Not exactly, Sonoma County approved the SMART train but it failed to get the 2/3 required votes in Marin, but with Joe Nation's creation of a special train tax district that combined the votes of both counties, Sonoma was able to override our votes. But now the whole scam has been exposed. It is unlikely that anything will be built. In case you haven't seen the news lately about SMART, here is an update:
http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20101210/O... 's-tracks
Special districts are done all the time. It was done for BART. Opinion is not fact. It is highly likely that it will be built. I haven't seen one voter approved rail project that wasn't.
Middle of the road

Rancho Cordova, CA

#56 Dec 15, 2010
Dillinger wrote:
<quoted text>

I think Most of have a lot more of a life than you do by going and coming and getting wherever than you do.
What?
Middle of the road

Rancho Cordova, CA

#57 Dec 15, 2010
capdiamont wrote:
<quoted text>
Special districts are done all the time. It was done for BART. Opinion is not fact. It is highly likely that it will be built. I haven't seen one voter approved rail project that wasn't.
Good reply! On the money..........
ferndalian

Palo Cedro, CA

#58 Dec 15, 2010
Dillinger wrote:
<quoted text>
So are we to assume you don't have a car, never ride in some one else's car (truck, motor scooter, and gas propelled vehicle), never on a bus, plane, etc, etc.
I think Most of have a lot more of a life than you do by going and coming and getting wherever than you do.
Also I have read about supporting terrorists before. We import over 60 to 70 percent of our oil/gas from Canada. We have quite a bit yet of our own also from So. Amer. We get very little from Saudi, so I don't think we are doing much to support them.
YOu are wrong. Most of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia. In fact, 3x as much as we get from Canada.

http://media.ft.com/cms/19d4f43e-a1a5-11dc-a1...

“I don't know who I am”

Since: Dec 07

Fortuna

#59 Dec 15, 2010
capdiamont wrote:
<quoted text>
Special districts are done all the time. It was done for BART. Opinion is not fact. It is highly likely that it will be built. I haven't seen one voter approved rail project that wasn't.
I dunno.... If I were still living in Petaluma, I'd be extremely annoyed (assuming the information provided in the Opinion Piece "P" cited is accurate).

There is a limit to patience; I smell lawsuits, especially from Marin County.
Dillinger

Eureka, CA

#60 Dec 15, 2010
ferndalian wrote:
<quoted text>
YOu are wrong. Most of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia. In fact, 3x as much as we get from Canada.
http://media.ft.com/cms/19d4f43e-a1a5-11dc-a1...
I have $5000 in my account that you are very wrong. Not even close.

We supply 40% ourselves, Canada over 18% and Saudi about 11%
The rest from Africa, Middle East, and So. Amer.

Don't post without checking it makes you look lazy and uneducated.

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