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MIJ: Two Letters to the Editor for railroad.
Sunday 6 Jan 2008, 12:12
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad | Tags:

One of course is from the NCRA, the other for elevated passenger rail.

TRANSPORTATION

Freight official responds

In your Dec. 26 editorial, “In search of straight talk about freight,” the IJ asked the North Coast Railroad Authority to be candid about its plans to resume North Coast train operations. Well, once again, here is the plan:

– NCRA will restart rail service on the Russian River Division (Phase 1) Lombard to Windsor, as soon as repairs and the environmental process is completed. Repairs and operations to Willits will follow.

– NCRA estimates that during the start-up phase (at least the first year), there will be three round-trips per week, culminating with a maximum of three roundtrips per day by the second or third year of operations on the Russian River Division.

– This plan for Russian River Division train service has been clearly stated to the SMART board (June 20), a Novato public forum (July 19) and environmental impact report public scoping sessions in Novato (July 31), Santa Rosa (Aug. 29) and Petaluma (Aug. 31).

The “confusion” comes from opponents of train service who ignore current strategic decisions made by NCRA and its new operator. These decisions include the deferral of any further consideration of reopening the Eel River Division through the canyon north of Willits until a complete environmental impact report answers environmental and economic viability questions, a process that will take about five years. Any statements to the contrary, from any source, are pure conjecture. During the canyon environmental impact report process, the City of Novato and other opponents of rail will have ample opportunity to express their views regarding impacts of repairs and operations through the canyon.

I hope this “straight talk” clarifies NCRA’s plans once and for all.

Allan Hemphill, Chairman, North Coast Railroad Authority, Cloverdale

Japan a good role model

I encourage those who are putting together a plan for a train system to study Japan’s rail system. Japan has efficient trains that people rely on for commuting. The average person does not drive as trains are less expensive and more timely. The rails are elevated where passage would interfere with road traffic.

I am a supporter of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit and would much prefer to take a train and a ferry than drive down Highway 101. I commute to San Francisco every day and must leave by 6 a.m. or earlier to avoid the awful traffic.

Marie Demcho-Wagor, Novato

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