Coastal Rail Now News
Like it or not, we have to face facts: We can’t afford the third lane, but we can afford commuter rail. Due to the recession, and a shortfall of tax revenue for infrastructure projects which are supposed to be funded by the new countywide transportation tax measure (Measure A 2008), we’re not likely to see the third lane for at least 20 years.
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And Below are Photos and Report by Carl Morrison, Carl@TrainWeb.com
You may wonder why this event did not take place May 9 with other Train Day celebrations. At that time, Santa Barbara, CA, was having the Jesusita Fire, and their minds were occupied with the fires with little to celebrate at the time. This event date actually allowed many of us to attend today where we were not able to attend in May, since we were at celebrations in other cities. Most of the TrainWeb.com staff were at the Los Angeles Celebration. The following report and photos were by me, Carl@TrainWeb.com, as I enjoyed a nice trip on the Pacific Surfliner from Fullerton, CA, to Santa Barbara, through Los Angeles.
Train Day Festivities in Santa Barbara
The activities in Santa Barbara started with a ride on a southbound Pacific Surfliner to Carpenteria, detraining, and reboarding the northbound Pacific Surfliner #799, on which I was travelling, back to Santa Barbara. During the ride, and during the festivities, guests were entertained by Master Magician Mark Collier.
Dennis Story, Chair of Coastal Rail Now, had the only prepared information which was in the Press Release provided by KK Holland. He mentioned:
May 9, 2009, Amtrak used National Train Day to highlight the growing popularity of trains as convenient, energy efficient, environmentally sound ways to travel. We’re here today talking to families in attendance about the importance of our work, and using the unprecedented support for passenger trains shown by President Obama to expand our membership.
We are also here today to talk about he importance of regional transportation in addressing the congestion and environmental challenges we face here in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. If we are serious about
giving people choices to get around, addressing congestion, and responding to state environmen tal legislation such as SB 375 and AB 32, we are going to need to work together. We are here today, as elected reporesentatives from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to rise to that challenge and demonstrate that we have the resolve to address transportation issues on a regional level. We are going to need a solution that can take into account the challenges of the region as a whole, while helping individual communities find solutions to connect residents to the region at large.
People recognize on all levels that addressing transportation is critically important. Whether it’s families dealing with the price of gas or just dealing with the economic pressures facing all of us right now, or the voters of Santa Barbara County approving measure A last fall to take the first steps toward addressing regional tranportation challenges with money
for buses and trains, the need for a more comprehensive solution is obvious.
Certain major funding sources are only available to regional cooperation efforts. If we are to be successful, we will need a multimodal approach with solutions for everyone.
For more information, please visit CRN at CoastalRailNow.org, and ASERT at
Grant House, Councilmember, City of Santa Barbara.
Mr. House read the press release composed by Dennis Story that I have
Mayor Marty Blum
City of Santa Barbara
The Mayor mentioned the new railcar west of the station, pictured here:
Restored railcar west of the station.
Kathleen Reddington, Carpenteria Councilmember.
“We need commuter transportation that makes sense so the workforce in Santa
Barbara can commute from Carpenteria.”
Supervisor Salud Carbajal First District Supervisor
Paul Dyson, President of Rail PAC.
Paul had some thoughtful comments: All we need is more rail coaches and
track (sidings). Compared to adding a lane of a freeway, this is not a
costly proposition. There have been no new rail cars built in the last 15
Television, Internet, and Print Media were interviewing speakers all around
the station and on the train.
Same event, same train ride, different date! Saturday, July 18th from 9AM till Noon
Southbound 774 train leaves Santa Barbara at 9:20, and Northbound 799 leaves Oxnard at 9:20
“Central Coast Train Day” plans include elected officials and others catching the 799 Surfliner north from the Ventura area, and picking up elected officials and others from the Santa Barbara area who rode the 774 south to Carpinteria. The trains schedule offers a unique opportunity for event participants to have a quick and easy train ride which will ultimately bring everyone to the Santa Barbara station at 10:12 AM for the Train Day events that will go till noon and begins with a press conference. Activities will go till noon, and includes Master Magician Mark Collier, a train cookie decorating contest, and food catered by Omni-Fresco Catering. See ticketing options below.
Some Ticketing Options
1. By registering at www.santabarbaracarfree.com you’ll receive a discount code good for 20% savings on the Pacific Surfliner to/from all eight SBA county stations. Three day advance reservations are required.
2. Another option would be to purchase 10-trip ticket book which provides up to a 30% discount off the regular fare for travel between OXN and Santa Barbara. Five people can travel round-trip on one ten-trip ticket. The 10-trip tickets need to be purchased at a staffed station like Oxnard or Santa Barbara.
3. Amtrak also offers everyday 10% AAA discount (valid membership card required) and kids ages 2-15 always ride at half price. Kids under 2 are free and seniors age 62+ can request a 15% discount.
FYI, Amtrak will be providing the gift bags to the Train Day attendees that were distributed at our four major NTD events on May 9th. The bag will contain a coupon good for 50% off a companion ticket for travel after Labor Day.
In light of current developments with the Jesusita Fire, the National Train Day event planned for the Santa Barbara Station has been postponed. Details about a new date will be sent out next week. The press conference, children’s activities and station events have also been canceled.
Refunds on train travel are available through Amtrak. There is a 10% fee for returns, but the ticket value can be applied toward future travel at 100% value for up to one year. Please contact AMTRAK at 800-USA-Rail, or online at Amtrak.com
KK Holland, Project Coordinator
Dennis Story, Chair
Coastal Rail Now
(read more at the COAST website)
WASHINGTON — Amtrak on Tuesday tapped the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration to lead the national passenger railroad for a year.
Joseph Boardman succeeds Chief Executive Alex Kummant, who resigned Nov. 14 after two years marked by significant growth in ridership and revenue.
How 5 other counties got votes studied
By Scott Hadly
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Reading voters’ lips and how they cast their ballots on new taxes don’t always synch, and that disparity may give Ventura County transportation officials hope.
Local voters have twice rejected a county sales tax to pay for fixing roads and improving mass transit.
But despite the dismal economy and an aversion to taxes, voters elsewhere in the state on Nov. 4 approved local transportation sales taxes in at least five counties, garnering the more than two-thirds necessary to pass tax measures.
As officials begin the first stages of what will likely be a two-year effort to pass a similar measure here, they are looking at how voters across the state cast their ballots.
“I was up until 1 a.m. looking at returns,” said Darren Kettle, executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
The bad economy did not preclude support for local sales tax as long as voters knew what they were going to get and had a chance to weigh in on what kind of projects would be funded, said Kettle.
Voters also see the relationship between infrastructure improvements and improvements in the economy, he said.
That takes time and is part of the reason the effort locally has a two-year timeline. It will give transportation officials time to hear from voters and identify their top transportation priorities.
“Transportation is one of the top two or three public policy priorities for people,” Kettle said. “It’s a massive problem. Voters have said it’s so big we need to fix it.”
A half-cent transportation sales tax here would raise about $65 million, and, according to Kettle, help the county compete for state and federal transportation funding. Increasingly, local jurisdictions that can’t match or contribute to state or federal funding for infrastructure projects get put at the end of the line, said Kettle.
Learned from failed effort
In two counties, Santa Barbara and Imperial, the margin of victory on the sales tax was big, hovering around 80 percent.
“We got the fourth-largest majority of any transportation sales tax initiative,” said Greg Hart, of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, which worked to get the measure passed.
At a presentation last week, Hart said backers of their measure learned from a failed effort in 2006 to focus what they were asking voters to support and to involve as many people as possible in deciding how the money would be used.
“That included seeking out active opponents of (the 2006 measure),” Hart said.
The measure raises about $35 million a year for transportation in Santa Barbara County. Hart believes pledging that the money would be directly used to help widen the congested Highway 101 played a role in it passing.
Even in counties where tax measures were shot down – Monterey and Stanislaus – they failed by very slim margins.
It was the third time voters in Monterey rejected a transportation sales tax.
“What’s interesting is that in those sub-regions that are being hit by foreclosures and the bad economy, they still almost pulled this thing out,” Kettle said.
But Kettle also noted that in Santa Barbara County, voters were being asked to support renewal of an existing transportation sales tax measure.
Kettle paid special attention to how neighboring Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties voted.
Both counties have a transportation tax, and voters reaffirmed their support of the taxes, although it took Santa Barbara two tries to pass its renewal.
Worthwhile to ask third time
With Imperial’s recent passage of a local tax, there are now 20 so-called “self-help” counties in the state. They are called that because a local sales tax generates money for roads and mass transportation.
Ventura County voters have twice rejected similar transportation measures, but as state and federal money dries up for transportation, local officials say it’s worthwhile to ask a third time.
According to commission members, the county is the largest in the state without a local transportation sales tax.
In October, members of the Ventura County Transportation Commission approved hiring the firm California Strategies, a Sacramento-based lobbying and consulting firm that has been involved with the successful passage of at least five local transportation measures in the past six years.
The firm has already had some preliminary meetings with local government and business officials.
©2008 Ventura County Star
Interesting Viewpoint, CRN would like to know what you think?
Published on Sunday, November 16, 2008 by CommonDreams.org
by Harvey Wasserman
Bail out General Motors? The people who murdered our mass transit system?
First let them remake what they destroyed.
GM responded to the 1970s gas crisis by handing over the American market to energy-efficient Toyota and Honda.
GM met the rise of the hybrids with “light trucks.”
GM built a small electric car, leased a pilot fleet to consumers who loved it, and then forcibly confiscated and trashed them all.
GM now wants to market a $40,000 electric Volt that looks like a cross between a Hummer and a Cadillac and will do nothing to meet the Solartopian needs of a green-powered Earth.
CoastalRailNow’s advocacy for commuter rail between Oxnard and Goleta must be on the right track. Recent media coverage about the increasing ridership on Amtrak and Metrolink serves to show how people are rediscovering rail for their regional transportation needs.