Guest post from “Big Time rail” supporter Monte Provolt; let him know what you think!
Why is the East West route better than the North South route?
The two rail lines have two different purposes. If you want to haul local lumber products 250 miles south to the San Francisco, and have the train return empty, then the North South route would probably be better.
If your intention is to have loaded ships entering and exiting Humboldt Bay, connecting the California interior and the Nation to the Asian markets, or to relieve some of the congestion ports to the south of us are experiencing, or to take some of the massive truck traffic off the roads, then the East West Rail would be better.
Is it true that the East West advocates are a bunch of rich guys that own property along the proposed route?
How are you going to find a route through all that critical NSO habitat?
Included in the scope of work that is required in the feasibility, is not only three separate routes, but also an environmental review, impact on property owners, and permitting costs.
Is the route really going to run through the Trinity Alps?
The route will absolutely not go any where near the Trinity Alps. And unlike some studies, the route will not go through the Fieldbrook Valley, or go through any wilderness areas.
I realize that to those against the East West rail, this attempt to answer questions may just raise more. I would like to continue to answer them either here or on the EastWest blog. Monte Provolt
The reason this has become a “thing” again is now they have some of your tax dollars to spend: (cal-trans press release)
TRINITY COUNTY- Trinity County Transportation Commission (TCTC) Executive Director Rick Tippett announced today the TCTC has been awarded a $276,000 Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant from Caltrans to conduct the Upstate California Railconnect Feasibility Study.
“A new rail line connecting Humboldt Bay’s seaport with the national rail system in the Sacramento Valley has the potential to be a social and economic game-changer for Northern (Upstate) California, including Trinity County,” said Tippet. “Northern California faces a variety of social and economic challenges that would be improved by the fuller utilization of the seaport at Humboldt Bay. To better utilize this port, CalTrans is modernizing Highway 299 and the shipping channels have been deepened. Rail is the only freight transportation mode missing. Exploring feasibility of such a rail connection is what is proposed to be addressed by the grant.”
For several years, Trinity County representatives have been joined by representatives from the County of Humboldt, County of Tehama, City of Eureka (as the port city), Northern California Tribal Chairmans Association and the UpState California Economic Development Council as a multi-agency group that has conducted public outreach, research and created a robust scope of work for the feasibility study. Trinity County Supervisors John Fenley and Bill Burton have represented Trinity County on this study.
Supervisor Fenley thanked Caltrans for awarding this grant and for their support of Trinity County and the North State. “I look forward to getting back together with our multi-agency group to assist the TCTC with this study,” said Fenley.
“The Upstate California Railconnect Feasibility Study will provide public decision-makers and private investors with a package of information on which to make informed investment and business decisions regarding a new rail line connecting Humboldt Bay’s deepwater seaport with a national rail connection in the Sacramento Valley,” Fenley added.
The Scope of Work for this feasibility study was developed by the multi-agency group with the assistance of a CDBG grant obtained by the City of Eureka in 2012. The feasibility will include information on potential rail routes, additional uses of the rail corridor (e.g. trail, passenger service, redundant fiber optic, etc), economic benefits, environmental and cultural impacts, rail infrastructure design considerations, timeline and costs to develop, and more.
In addition to the grant, the non-profit organization Land Bridge Alliance (LBA) will provide $69,000 in matching funds and in-kind services to the project. LBA was formed to provide an open and publicly accessible venue for factual information related to the creation of a feasibility study which leads towards answering the question of viability of the newly proposed rail corridor.
“The need is for transportation options for freight and passenger uses, over a long period of time, upwards of a century,” said Trinity County Supervisor Bill Burton. “This transportation link would have many social and economic benefits and national implications.” He added “this project, if built, will have long term jobs implications, as well as business and tourist economic factors. As a first step, this study will help determine the potential costs of a built project.”
This grant program was created to support Caltrans mission: provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant information can be found here.