If you vote for corrupt idiots - you get corrupted, idiotic policy.
Tell the old boys that they're the ones who are going to suffer. If they ruin this county they'll be the only ones left in 20 years - because they can't make it anywhere else and will be stuck.
Adults usually learn from their mistakes.
The fact that Coos Bay runs a mediocre port and rail operation is not terribly relevant to this discussion. Humboldt Bay is not going to unload super tankers. They won't even fit and nobody wants that anyhow.
One thing I agree with is that we shouldn't stop with the GOOD projects we can afford just because we're also considering other projects. Improving infrastructure around the bay for all uses is a good idea. Why aren't cruise ships docking in Old Town, for example?
One thing to consider with a new rail link is that the days of truck shipping are numbered. Twenty years from now the option to use trucks may well be gone and in that environment water and rail will become the primary means of shipping. Positioning yourself with the newest rail line (many of these lines mentioned are ancient) is not a bad idea at all.
As for approval difficulties - those are challenges one has to work with. Engineering is the real question and a feasibility study should certainly be done. After the engineering requirements are clear we can talk about what trade-offs we are willing to make. Rail's impact is very light compared to almost anything else we can do.
Further, this will become a tourist and passenger rail line as well. Freight is the backbone of rail but I think we can all agree that this would be an absolutely beautiful train ride.
Skippy's comment above is right on the money. If this project makes sense it should be possible to finance it privately. If we can get this kind of infrastructure built without spending local tax dollars on the construction and maintenance then only an idiot would be against it in principal.
Another advantage of a new rail line not stated in this article is the new right-of-way. Along that rail right-of-way one can build other infrastructure, high-speed telecom in particular. That bolsters yet another growth industry for the region.
It's prudent to keep a close-eye on anything Arkley is backing. Without a doubt he has a vision for how this will make money that he's not going to talk about now (for various reasons, some good, some not). That said I think it's a mistake to write it off completely just because of his involvement. For the worst of critics remember that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Finally, in terms of attitude, let's try a little vision and optimism here. The reflex to reject any development ideas as “pie-in-the-sky” does us a disservice. None of the criticisms in this article are devastating and they all lack a critical aspect: forward vision.
Yes, older projects in other places struggle. A few guys who worked there think they know ALL ABOUT why that's the case. Sure, it's the natural force of the industry blah blah. Or maybe these guys are lousy managers who had bad resources, a bad product, and bad timing.
A fair evaluation of this project's potential starts with listing the ADVANTAGES for Humboldt County. How is Humboldt Bay better positioned or equipped for such use? How is a rail connection to that particular site (Red Bluff) superior to those in other locations? Etc.
In Print This Week:
Mar 13, 2014
vol XXV issue 11
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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