Despite a strong show of public support, and contrary to the staff recommendation, at the April 6 RTC meeting, 6 commissioners voted against accepting the Rail Business Plan and against letting the staff continue working on the project. Because the vote was tied, the same agenda item will carry over to the next meeting on May 6.
Thanks to everyone who sent email urging the RTC to accept the passenger rail Business Plan! Public transportation supporters turned out in huge numbers, sending around 250 emails. We estimate that around 70% of the emails to the RTC were positive. The commissioners aren’t listening to their constituents. We need to get loud.
Please click the email links below to tell the 6 RTC commissioners who voted ‘no’ to change their votes.
Take Action Today
Ask the commissioners who voted against the business plan to reconsider. Tell them how important it is to add public transportation on our rail corridor.
For quick action, click HERE to personalize a single form email to all those who voted No. (Please be respectful, as we want to convert them, not make enemies!)
For More Impact: use the links below to send a personalized constituent email to just your representatives. A statement from your heart is the best way to build bridges. Include your street address so they know you are really a constituent.
Capitola Residents and METRO Riders
Your Capitola representatives voted against the Rail Business Plan. Send them emails!
- Public Transportation Users or would-be users, click HERE to email Kristen Petersen, who represents the METRO board and Capitola, or copy email@example.com
- Capitola Residents, click HERE to email both Jacques Bertrand and Kristen Petersen or copy these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Districts 2, 5, and 1 Residents
Your County Supervisors from districts 2, 5, and 1 voted against the Rail Business Plan. Send them emails! If you don’t know your district use the instructions here to easily find it: What District Am I In? – Coast Connect
- District 2 Residents, click HERE to email both Zach Friend and his alternate Patrick Mulhearn, or copy these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- District 5 Residents, click HERE to email Bruce McPherson and his alternate Virginia Johnson, or copy these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
You can also contact Randy Johnson by clicking HERE.
- District 1 Residents click HERE to email Manu Koenig or copy this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone Sign the Petition!
Click HERE to sign the petition on Change.org, and then share it on your social media pages!
It’s a Good Plan
The tied vote serves as an alarm bell for anyone in our community who is concerned about social equity, environmental sustainability, and economic justice in transportation. it appears several commissioners were ill-prepared to accurately assess and approve the staff’s recommendation.
For commissioners who have questions about the specifics of how passenger rail would be funded and implemented, the answer lies in accepting the Business Plan and allowing the staff to get the funds for Preliminary Design and Environmental Impact Report. The Preliminary Design phase will answer these questions.
The Business Plan gives a clear path forward for planning rail transportation. The next step would be to apply for state and federal grants to pay for an Initial Design and Environmental Impact Report. The RTC staff has identified grants with little to no requirement for local matching funds. The Caltrans representative at the meeting confirmed the availability of funds, and of more federal and state funds on the horizon.
These 6 commissioners are blocking our county’s access to substantial State and Federal dollars we could use to fund a zero-emissions passenger rail system. A no vote also hurts the Rail Trail: our excellent past record of winning grants for Rail Trail construction was because we have a multimodal transportation corridor that combines active transportation and public transportation.
We Need to Broaden Our Reach
Six of the Commissioners are not listening to their constituents. This means that we need to be more effective at making sure they hear the voice of the public. We can use your help in getting this message out. Please tell your friends about this important project, and remember to keep your representative on speed dial.
We are determined to press forward with our work to transform transportation in Santa Cruz County. We will continue to advocate to build the Rail Trail as quickly as possible, and to plan for zero-emissions passenger rail to connect Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and points between and beyond. We anticipate major state and federal funding that will fuel momentum toward a better future benefiting everyone regardless of age, ability, or economic status. We will also continue our work to educate the commissioners and community members about the benefits for people, planet, and prosperity that truly useful public transportation would bring to Santa Cruz County.
P.S. If you would like to read the full Business Plan, click here to see it on the RTC website.