Filed under: Arcata, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, North Coast Railroad, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, THA, trails
There is many issues here.
The rail to trail from Arcata to Blue Lake has yet to turn a shovel.
The rail with trail within Arcata and to Bracutt has yet to turn a shovel. Both were submitted to NCRA board and approved long ago. There has been no plan for a trail from Bracutt to Eureka that was brought to the NCRA board for a vote. With no plan submitted, it cannot be approved. NCRA is not the bad guy here. There are proper ways to do things. The trail folks have not done so.
The four million mentioned in the plan is not the true cost of converting the rail to trail. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating rails to rails/rail banking is an unconstitutional taking of land. So in each court case, the government had to pay fair market value of the land for a new trail easement as though the railroad was never there, plus interest. Those costs have not been added to the 2007 plan. Link: http://www.mainjustice.com/2012/02/17/railbanking-flopping-in-the-courtroom/
The prism of the railroad is not a levee. It was not designed to hold back any water, and it will not do so. It was only designed to hold up the trains. There has been no costs added to the 2007 plan to make it a levee. Again those are added costs, and time to do so.
The short run for the tourist train from Samoa to Arcata is too short for the proposed Dinner train. It will also leave out the packed Fourth of July passenger train runs between Arcata and Eureka. Those runs brought our communities together with alternative transportation.
The East side of highway 101 might be a better place. I know you have to cross Indianola, various businesses, etc. However you open yourself up to whole new possibilities. It would then be cheaper to add in the old railroad right of ways to Bayside, Old Hansen Rd area, Freshwater, and the north side of Eureka. Indianola was a Railroad right of way. This way you have the main connecting trail, plus more to get people off of old Arcata Road. It allow for better access to the the wildlife refuge. It is more protected from the wind coming off the bay.
Rail banking is unneeded. The operator filed a notice of intent to use the railroad, and that alone preserves the right of way from reverting to private hands. The public was told the railroad has not been used for fifteen years. That is incorrect. There has been the movement of the railroad passenger car, and various groups of speeders. All that usage qualifies as railroad usage, preserving the right of way.
Now there is proposed usage of the railroad as a shortline in the intern, with eventual connection to the outside. With the proposed usage, the Surface Transportation Board will not the abandoning of the railroad. Rail banking requires abandonment of the railroad. Thus no rail banking will be allowed, even if the NCRA wanted to do so.