Letters: Anti-train Novato aims to kill SMART; carpool bonus
- Published Tuesday, February 26, 2008, by the Marin Independent Journal
Letters to the Editor
Novato's anti-train agenda
Novato's agenda is revealed in its attempt to blame the North Coast
Railroad Authority for Novato Creek flooding. Novato assails NCRA
for not repairing the trestle while Novato's own lawsuit prevents
NCRA from making the repairs.
Why doesn't Novato admit its goal is to kill the railroad?
City Manager Dan Keen has made that obvious in public statements:
"I think we have serious concerns about the whole resumption of
"The city sees no benefit that NCRA's freight offers to Novato."
Most tellingly, "The city is asking the court to invalidate NCRA's
contracts with companies involved in upgrading tracks to accommodate
Invalidating those contracts would prevent NCRA from implementing its
state-mandated mission of restoring and maintaining our railroad for
freight and passenger trains. Novato is suing NCRA for doing its job.
In 2006, anti-rail activists began demonizing freight as a weapon
against Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit: Prevent track restoration
and SMART doesn't have a track to run on. That they enlisted Novato
officials in pursuing their agenda comes as no surprise.
Who wins and who loses if Novato prevails?
Our environment loses big. Highway vehicles account for 62 percent
of Marin's greenhouse gases. Our economy loses, because rail is
the most cost-effective way to move people and goods. You, I, and
15 cities lose by being deprived of a choice: drive or ride a train.
The only winner is the highway lobby, which has done its best since
the 1930s to prevent trains from competing with cars and trucks.
'Appalled' by carpool bonus
I am appalled by the county's $4-per-day-per-worker bonus for
carpooling to the Civic Center. And the county is strapped for money?
I worked at Chevron Research in Richmond for 34 years until I retired
in 1986. I carpooled for all of that time. At one time we had 11
members of our Marinwood carpool. There were several carpools from
Terra Linda and one that I remember from Sleepy Hollow. No one had to
pay us to do it. We all did it because it was convenient, economical
and environmentally sound. Eventually we were rewarded by being given
reserved parking spots for carpools of three or more. I think a
similar reward would be quite adequate for our county employees.