This is getting silly, Tra. Someone else (you?) can put forth a plan for rail-only, no trail. Because it's a seriously dumb idea. It's one I didn't hear from ANY of my THA contacts all these months working with them. Do you travel much outside Humboldt? Do you understand what trails do for a community? As for Mr. Cricket: Easements? One beauty of the Bay [T]rail proposal is the land -- almost every bit of it -- is already in public ownership. And the TWO private property owners along the 101 corridor (the only two I could find, identified in the 2007 report)? I spoke with both of them several times over several months and they raised no objections to trail conversion as an interim use. In fact, one is an outright trail supporter and the other told me trail conversion would be an improvement. Yes, we'll need a lead agency to provide liability and management (in the works) and we will need a budget and a partnership of public entities for on-going maintenance once the trail is built (also the works). We've been working very hard on this for five months and have come up with a plan we are pretty sure we can pay for. If you want to discuss this with me further -- directly -- you can find my email on the Journal website. I'm available. I just don't have unlimited time to argue with anonymous people on line. Sorry. But feel free to blather on.
About costs: Rail-to-trail option is $4.1 million, according to HCAOG exec director testifying at BOS and NRCA meetings. Likely a little higher now because it's based on this extensive report taxpayers paid for five years ago:
And the $31+ million figure? Likely be more now, too, especially due to deterioration of the line. It's the rail-with-trail option in same document. So why is it unlikely (darn-near-impossible) to find $31M? The state is broke, so is NCRA. There are no special pots of money to fund something that doesn't have a plan. The railroad operator stood up at the July 11 meeting and said he has no plan to return rail service to Humboldt County. And the NCRA has not spent a dime on the line up here in 15 years while the south end recently got $64M. In my heart? I love trains, too. We could have a tourist train operating in a year -- from Arcata to Samoa. Bird in the hand. Later, when (and if) freight service returns -- 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? -- the line between Arcata and Eureka has to be expensively rebuilt to current standards. The trail could be relocated alongside. Trails don't cost much. Modern freight railroads lines do.
Sorry, Mike. You were trying to HELP with those references. Thanks. I do like Neary's letter because he says the NCRA might want to look at railbanking someday when someone has a plan for a trail!
Wally 1:07: No Bay [T]rail Advocate is asking for money. We were even giving our buttons away for free.
Go for it 2:06: Problem with going all the way to Eureka? It would cost $32M and no agency is going to fund a project that has no freight customers and no plans for freight customers. Period. We DO have several good potential sources for the $4M identified -- especially for the chance to close a critical gap in the California Coastal Trail.
Mike: You can find just about anything on the internet. Impartial opinion? How about NCRA's own attorney Christopher Neary's letter of Aug. 18, 2011 on railbanking research and on "abandonment." (It was in the board packet on NCRA website.) Nothing scary at all about "railbanking" or "abandonment."
And your source?
I don't know who the guy was who stood up and made the same comment at the BOS meeting June 26, but he also said Arcata has nothing for train tourists, no places to eat, no shops. If you want to discuss further, you can easily find my email.
Q: from unanonymous / Yesterday, 2:11 p.m. "Why don’t the trail folks at least try and work with the rail?"
A: You haven't been paying attention. There have been regular meetings since March -- 3 Bay [T]rail Advocates, 3 Timber Heritage Association folks who had lots of input on the final Bay [T]rail Plan [www.baytrailplan.org]. Two examples: BTA is trying to help THA get a long-term lease it needs from the harbor district for the museum. THA has many hurdles ahead but it is doable: lot-line adjustment, zone change, approvals from the county & coastal commish, consistency with long-term planning going on by harbor district and other neighbors. It will take time. BTA will be at hearings to support it. And a tourist train? That will be an easy one if the line is railbanked: the existing rail's in good shape for a tourist train (but not freight) to Arcata where a turn-around exists; Arcata wants to help and so will we. The THA has a engine that works and lots of really cool rail cars. The dining car alone could be a movie set. Or at least a venue for some good parties. Join the THA and help.
1. Read the plan itself at www.baytrailplan.org -- especially "Railbanking FAQs." You'll see three attorneys (Eureka attorney Phil Arnot, who researched those easements for Eureka Southern; NCRA's attorney, and HCAOG's special railbanking attorny) pretty much in agreement about what could happen if the line is not railbanked. 2. Why now all of a sudden? The line's been down 15 years. The 2007 plan is now five years old. Remember all the those telling us the Eel River Canyon would be open by 2009, 2011 ... If anyone wants to discuss off-blog, my email's readily available.
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Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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