We Oppose the Greenway Initiative

In July Santa Cruz County experienced a complete traffic standstill due to an emergency on Highway 1. Traffic was stopped for hours. In Santa Cruz, when the highway is blocked it causes massive disruption to our ability to get where we want to go.

Meanwhile, Greenway announced their intent to start collecting signatures for a countywide ballot initiative that blocks one of the most popular transportation projects in the county and the only project that will provide a third corridor to travel North-South. Hidden in this ballot measure that claims to build a ‘wider trail’ is language that will delay our trail and prevent rail transit from even being planned in Santa Cruz County.

The Greenway ballot measure is an attack on both our ability to keep building the Coastal Rail Trail and any possibly of future rail transit.

The 18 miles of Rail Trail currently under construction are in danger.

Greenway’s ballot initiative is deceptive:

  • It claims to build a trail, but actually it delays the trail from being built by putting all existing railroad right-of-way easements at risk of litigation, and forces us to repeat expensive environmental and engineering work.
  • It claims to preserve rail transit as an option but actually removes it from the county plan. 
  • It claims to protect Roaring Camp but actually cuts them off from the regional rail network and devastates their business. 

This measure would be devastating to our county’s active transportation plans, there would not be a county bike path for another decade at least. Why would anyone want to delay such an important community trail project? What is there to be gained by stopping planning for our transportation future? Bicyclists, drivers, walkers and our neighborhoods all benefit from both the Rail and Trail. Who benefits from an initiative like this? It looks like the only people who will gain anything are the landowners who will be able to sue the federal government for land payments.

Who benefits from stopping the Rail Trail? Not our Community. 

In much the same way as the auto industry dismantled public transportation in LA, this is a deceptive attempt by people connected with the high-tech personal transportation industry to prevent Santa Cruz County from using our rail line for public transportation. It is a coordinated, sophisticated attempt to stop the coastal rail trail from being built and kill any future plans for rail service. 

Although it claims to preserve the future of rail transportation, reading the fine print, it’s clear the Greenway ballot measure would permanently prevent it. This initiative will:

  • Destroy the rail line,
  • Remove the rail transportation planning language from the county plan.

In fact, this one-two punch will take away the existing rail line and also prevent the county from planning to ever bring it back.

We need rail and trail to beat traffic.

All data points show that we will need to use our rail line to provide an affordable and traffic free way to get around in Santa Cruz County. Without the rail line, there will never be any relief from the 90 minute commutes we currently expirience. Connecting our county with zero emission light rail is also a vital tool for us to address climate change and social justice. The Greenway ballot measure is a bald-faced effort to destroy our opportunity to make these positive changes in our county.

The choice is clear, we must prevent this ballot measure from passing. Our county values the environment, essential workers, and social justice. We want better transportation options that will save us time, money and emissions. We do not support this deceptive initiative.

If you care about the environment, about social justice, about public transportation, or about combating special interests in our political processes, please donate now.

If you can’t donate right now, please consider spreading the word and letting your friends and neighbors know about the negative impacts of this ballot measure. 

You can read the deceptive language of this ballot initiative here: GreenwayBallot Initiative*

It will take all of us to defeat these special interests in the next election. We need your help to ensure we can compete with their well funded messaging machine. 

In solidarity,

Faina Segal

*FORT & Coast Connect have a policy of being factual always. As all volunteer organization it will be difficult to compete against a well funded organization that is known for using misinformation in their messaging. Please check back here for updates as we work to get third party fact checkers to review the ballot language and Greenway’s messaging. 

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