4A is about efficient transit
We would all love to have rail service in the valley, but the realities of local, state and federal funding options are so limited that it is not feasible today or in the near future. RFTA protects and preserves the rail corridor against all threats to ensure that when rail becomes economically possible, nothing stands in its way.
Jim Markalunas, in a letter to this newspaper on Oct. 2, suggests that RFTA has negated the rail option by placing the bike trail in the rail corridor and by pursuing Bus Rapid Transit funding on the November ballot. Quite the contrary: The trail will not preclude the building of a rail line in the corridor, and the trail will be realigned where necessary to accommodate rail. Since rail funding is still a long way off, why not use the corridor recreationally and for bike commuters until then?
Also, RFTA’s Bus Rapid Transit plan is a steppingstone toward rail. Many of the improved bus stops and parking facilities for Bus Rapid Transit will be along the rail corridor and may be used for rail when it is built. Even if funding for rail were available now, RFTA would need additional funds to keep up with demand while rail was under construction. Opposing Bus Rapid Transit will not get us any closer to rail service, but supporting it will.
Suggesting that RFTA can find the funding for rail today is simply inaccurate. Letting the rail corridor go unused until rail is built is a waste of a public resource. Voting against 4A (a modest tax increase for Bus Rapid Transit) because it’s not rail is unwise.
Voters who want a viable and efficient transit solution in the near term must vote YES on 4A. While you’re at it, vote for candidates on all levels of government who support increased investment in mass transit of all kinds, and fight to get rail funding from all sources. Be part of the solution to our transportation problems.
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