Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Poll shows 88% of Napans would take commuter rail
Monday 11 Feb 2008, 05:59
Filed under: Railroad | Tags: , , ,

Though only a total of 756 people responded.

Napans on commuter rail
Thursday, February 07, 2008

Each week, posts a “Question of the Week” and seeks reader responses.

The poll results are not scientific, though the Register takes steps to minimize the possibility that individuals vote multiple times.
Here are the results of the most recent poll, and some reader comments. To see this week’s question, go online to

Question of the week: If a commuter train ran from Napa to Vallejo and/or BART, would you take it?

Total votes: 756

Yes — 669 (88 percent)

No — 87 (12 percent)

“Yes! Increasing the availability of public transportation is the direction we should be heading in to lessen our negative environmental impact.”

“This town is horrible for public transportation! If the Wine Train tracks were used for a commuter train Upvalley in the a.m. and p.m., I’d take that, too! No more driving with drunk tourists. Amen!”

“A commuter train requires a destination, and then another mode of transportation from that destination, and then another mode of transportation from that destination. Give me my car.”

“I would ride the commuter train. My only hope is that terminals would be planned to include north, central and south Napa, and stops at the college, Airport Road and American Canyon, plus convenient stops for attractions in Vallejo that could attract a rider base like Six Flags, downtown and the ferry slip.”

“No way. I like the fact I am mobile in my car, and the train will bring unwanted crime, ice, crack, gangs and a world of unwanted people who will use the service to sneak in items and degrade this town even more.”

“I see it as a decent solution to creating less traffic on our lovely little two-lane highway we have. Either more lanes or a train, something needs to be done!”

“Connecting Napa with Vallejo is a horrible idea!”

“ A commuter train would not be a crack pipeline, nor a criminal superhighway … All of the tourists using cabs and the Vine would ride it. Students and Highway 29 commuters would relieve traffic by riding it. If connected to BART, we could go straight to the airport in San Francisco.”

“That would be totally awesome! This is something I wish Napa had for the longest time. … It would more than likely bring more people from San Francisco and surrounding cities without having to drive to Napa! It would be good for citizens and tourists.”

“Maybe the reason it hasn’t been built has something to do with the fact that everyone says they use public transit, but when they actually do an audit, almost no one does. Think Napa Trolley.”

The other interesting thing is they are trying to get a flood control project going, and it will require the construction of two railroad bridges for the Wine Train. One for the new bypass channel, where there is no bridge there currently, and the other to replace the current structure over the Napa River. Some of the comments don’t want to fund the bridges for the railroad. The shops and the interchange to other railroad are South of the area affected, and the Journey to the North. If you want commuter rail, you will need those bridges. My map here. Project PDF, Flood Project Wiki, Wine train wiki and Wine Train Home page.

Bush budget $15 million short on Napa flood project
Register Staff Writer
Thursday, February 07, 2008

Citing inadequate federal funding, Napa officials estimate that the Napa flood project will be finished in 2016, not 2015 as was predicted a year ago.

The schedule could slip even further. President Bush’s proposed budget for 2008/09 contains $7.5 million for flood control. This is only a third of the $22.8 million that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants.
Local officials intend to mount a vigorous lobbying campaign to boost federal funding for next year, said Heather Stanton, local project manager.

The lobbying effort has become an annual event as flood control officials continually see federal budgets smaller than they hoped for coming from Washington.

It’s unfortunate that the federal government is having budget difficulties at the same time that the corps wants to award its most expensive construction contract since the flood project was approved by voters in 1998, Stanton said.

The corps expects to award a contract in late summer for the construction of two railroad bridges and the eastward shift of Napa Valley Wine Train tracks in the Oxbow District.

Now estimated to cost $48 million, this work had been expected to take two and a half years, Stanton said. But if the federal money isn’t there, construction could end up taking substantially longer, she said.

Napa will ask Congress to increase next year’s allocation to something much closer to the $22.8 million that the corps needs, Stanton said.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, said he would be working with California’s two senators to get more for Napa than the president’s $7.5 million, but he didn’t hold out much hope that Napa would get the requested $22.8 million.

“(Bush) has not been generous with flood control funding from day one and we have to recognize that,” Thompson said Wednesday.

The president’s budget for next year would cut billions of dollars from domestic programs, yet still end up with a $410 billion deficit, Thompson said.

At the same time, the corps may have an inflated sense of what it can realistically spend next year in Napa, he said. “I wouldn’t put too much stock in what corps’ capabilities are,” Thompson said.

Stanton defended the corps’ request for $22.8 million for 2008/09 as realistic. If the federal allocation is less, this will likely delay the start of work on Napa Creek flood defenses, she said.

Under the current timetable, construction of terraces and culverts on Napa Creek would start in late 2010 and take two years. The cost is now estimated at $20 million, $5 million more than previously thought.

Linda Kerr, a leader of a Napa Creek neighborhood group, In Harm’s Way, said she wasn’t surprised that the creek schedule could slip.

Because federal funding has lagged, “we’d predicted it will be built closer to 2013. I still think that’s more realistic,” she said Wednesday.

Every year’s delay exposes residents and businesses in the creek’s flood zone to added risk of water damage, Kerr said.

Kerr said she is hopeful that the city and the flood district could receive state grants to tackle parts of Napa Creek defenses sooner than 2010.

“These are long shots,” Kerr said of the grant applications. “If you could secure all these grants, you could actually do (Napa Creek) without federal funding.”

Currently, a federal contractor is wrapping up construction of a promenade and flood wall on the west side of the river from Napa Mill to First Street and the reconstruction of Veteran’s Memorial Park.

When the railroad contract is awarded later this year, the first piece of work will be the construction of a railroad bridge over the planned flood bypass channel at McKinstry Street, Stanton said.

The second priority is the construction of a replacement railroad bridge over the Napa River when funds become available.

Congress allocated $10.8 million for Napa flood project construction and planning in 2007/08, which was some $3 million more than Bush had proposed.

The company that wins the railroad contract will stay on the job however long it takes for federal allocations to fund the work, Stanton said.

It took a special federal waiver to be able to award a comprehensive contract rather than break the railroad work into pieces, Stanton said.

When local officials travel to Washington in April to lobby Congress, they will argue that Wine Train faces additional years of construction mess unless federal funding is increased, Stanton said.

On Tuesday, the Napa City Council passed a resolution supporting the corps’ request for $22.8 million for next year.

Historically, the city suffers a significant financial blow each time the Napa River floods. The New Year’s Eve flood of December 2005 caused the city $70 million in damage, the council said.



Commuter rail for Sonoma and Marin is a feasible and desirable goal, one that Green Wheels in Humboldt County has expressed our support for. Unfortunately, we see that the NCRA’s lack of forthright-ness and realism for prospects on the north end of the line has hampered worthwhile southern-line efforts, eroding both ready public support and credibility in Sacramento.

Comment by Aaron Antrim

Aaron, this is the railroad line that runs through Napa. Different valley.

Comment by capdiamont

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