This is the question being raised by concerned citizens all over the county. On June, 14th, The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) will vote on a contract which would allow Progressive Rail, a heavy industrial freight rail operator from Minnesota, to take over operations on our rail corridor. If the RTC, which includes our county supervisors, council members from each of the county’s four cities, and three Metro reps, agree on this deal the prospects for any sort of safe and continuous bike and walking path would look extremely bleak. Even worse, the freight rail contract could leave the fragile coastal zone of the Monterey Bay exposed to tactics like “warehouse of wheels” and “Preemption” which allow these companies to bypass local agencies and basically do whatever they please along the rail corridor.
Rail advocates like “F.O.R.T” (Friends of the Rail and Trail) are backing this contract that clearly prioritizes freight over all else despite red flags about Progressive Rail’s business practices in the Midwest, evidence of an unfair selection process, and the fact that three members of Progressive Rail’s leadership team are being sued for fraud.
Whether you’re backing F.O.R.T’s vision for a new commuter train or Greenway’s vision of wide and continuous biking/walking path an agreement with Progressive would no doubt put a standstill on all options.
If you’d like to stand up and make your concerns heard you can email email@example.com by noon on Wednesday, June 13 and/or attend the RTC meeting and share a 2-minute public comment:
RTC Meeting with Progressive Rail Vote:
9 am, Thurs, June 14th
Watsonville City Council Chambers, 275 Main St #400