Re: “Rail Fail” (GT, 5/12): To the Regional Transportation Commissioners: Disappointed is the least I can say, damn it!
I was shamed and desolated when six of you irresponsibly stalemated the due and proper vote of your peers to accept your staff’s planning document and refused to authorize a $17 million Caltrans grant for design, engineering, and environmental review.
You had one job on April Fool’s Day. You failed. You six renegades voted in collusion against the plain and simple public interest, the public good, and the public institution for which you are responsible.
You, Commissioners McPherson, Mulhearn, and Petersen up and flipped the votes you had cast just weeks before to accept your staff’s work toward a future electric passenger rail transit system.
Why? Tell us the truth. We’ve heard all your perfidiously coordinated talking points. We’re not impressed. Your obstinacy is spectacularly selfish, short-sighted, and contrary to our public policy framework. It sure looks like there are hidden agendas and ulterior motives at work.
What did it take for the privateering Greenway Godfather to turn you against the public? Was it promises, or threats? Bribery, or extortion?
Reason is not involved. None of you tergiversators have articulated any compelling rationale not to proceed with your professional staff’s work. The results of that work would answer many of the objections anti-rail transit partisans have raised. And the State of California would have paid for it, not local taxpayers.
You should be supporting your staff in planning for a public rail transit system and its companion pedestrian/bicycle pathway, and Metro bus connections. This will be nothing but good for all of us. It will enhance local commerce, and local tax revenues. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will reduce neighborhood traffic. It will reduce parking demands.
It is plainly false to say, “We can’t afford it!” We haven’t even designed it yet. We know that most of the cost will be externalized by state and federal funding. If a 1/2-cent or less countywide sales tax increase is required to fund part of the cost, say in 2030, then the project will not proceed without a vote to approve it.
Whatever offer you couldn’t refuse the Greenway Godfather may have made, I hope you three vote-flippers will consider the very distinct appearance of political corruption, and stop trying to subvert the long-term public interest in developing new passenger rail transit systems.
Get back on track, people, do the right thing!
Jim Weller | Capitola
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