No Progress on Commuter Rail

SBCAG Rep Blames Union Pacific

Union Pacific Railroad was blistered for being aloof, indifferent, and uncooperative by Gregg Hart of the Santa Barbara Association of County Governments (SBCAG) during a progress report on the freeway widening given to the Santa Barbara City Council.

In response to questions from Councilmember Grant House, a big supporter of commuter rail, Hart agreed that freeway widening without increased rail service would yield only short-term relief to traffic congestion. Unfortunately, Hart said, Union Pacific was not interested in placing a new siding on the track that would allow increased passenger service. Such work would require federal stimulus funding, Hart said, and the deadline for qualifying for such assistance was fast approaching. This, he said, made Union Pacific’s lack of cooperation all the more galling. “If this was Europe, this would be a no-brainer,” Hart said of using the existing track to expand commuter service.

House, ever the incurable optimist, urged Hart to focus on the glass being half full rather than half empty.

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