Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Two RR letters to the editor in MIJ
Tuesday 11 Dec 2007, 08:05
Filed under: Railroad

These were Monday’s letters dealing with the railroad lawsuit. Seems other than the supervisors, and a few pushes for a lawsuit, the lawsuit tanks in the letters to the editors, and editorials. Except for NCJ of course.

Kinsey explains train suit
I am writing in response to the guest editorials addressing the California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit that Novato filed against the North Coast Railroad Agency.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors filed an amicus brief in support of Novato for one specific purpose: to insure that the environmental impact report for resumption of freight service on the rail lines considers the entire amount of planned or considered service that NCRA has identified. State law is clear that environmental review of a project cannot be segmented to avoid addressing the cumulative impacts of all its individual elements.

Personally, I strongly support resumption of freight hauling on the existing rail lines for several reasons. Rail is an unquestionably superior environmental method for moving quantities of goods, producing significantly less greenhouse gas and using less fuel than trucks on the highway. Secondly, as one of Marin’s targeted industries, agricultural producers will benefit greatly from their ability to once again move livestock, feed and other supplies by rail. In a challenged industry, every economic advantage is important. Finally, the cost of operating Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit will also benefit economically because the maintenance of the tracks, bridges and other facilities will be shared with the NCRA.

Novato is rightfully proud of its heritage as a rail town. For the sustainable future it envisions, history needs to repeat itself.

Steve Kinsey, president, Marin County Board of Supervisors

Advice for supervisors

I, too, found it ironic that on the front page of the Nov. 28 IJ, we read that county survey results show traffic is Marin’s No. 1 concern and that the Board of Supervisors spent hours behind closed doors to ensure it stays that way.

Judy Arnold and several conservation groups seemed to have convinced other supervisors to side with Novato in its fight against North Coast Railroad Agency’s freight service through Novato.

The city’s suit and the county’s support is an attempt to stop NCRA from repairing existing track to make it safer and quieter. This is like telling a homeowner they need an environmental impact report to fix a broken water pipe.

Highway 101 often is jam-packed. I realize Novato has a vested interest in being isolated and ensuring that nothing there gets rowdier than Trader Joe’s parking lot on Saturday. But for the rest of us, we have a big problem here.

Our supervisors and other elected officials need to quit throwing roadblocks in the way. They need to work with NCRA. They need to make compromises that generate progress.

We can do this. It will take time and there will be many changes, improvements, additions and modifications, but the framework is in place. In order to be cost-effective, we have to accept multi-service rail. It will take time and commitment.

Judy Arnold needs to realize she serves District 5 and everyone in that district. With her position goes the responsibility to solve Marin’s No. 1 problem.

Steven Pointer, Bel Marin Keys

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