I’m hearing the line that we have two choices on how to build the Rail Trail. The line makes it sound like the public is just beginning to weigh the issue and that there are two equivalent choices before us. There aren’t.
One choice has already been chosen – to build a walk/bike trail alongside an intact rail line, thus preserving the option for future rail service. This choice has been chosen by the county transportation commission and the cities and county it passes through. More than $40 million has been allocated, design and engineering is underway on a third of the 32-mile trail, and the first segment will be open next year.
The other choice is one rejected when the first choice was chosen. It is a trail only, train never idea. No engineering, no governmental approval, no funding allocated, and it couldn’t be built for 10 years – because we would have to undo all the work that has been done on the choice already picked. And this choice eliminates the option of ever having rail service, unless you believe in railbanking, which is removing the tracks, building a trail, then tearing up the trail and rebuilding the tracks.
Not much of a choice is it? The chart above shows you why.