Redlands Daily Facts
700 Brookside, Redlands 92373 May 8, 2015
This letter is in response to the article entitled, “True cost of Redlands Passenger Rail Project”(RPRP) by Jon Harrison dated May 5, 2015. He states that, “commuter rail service was determined to be the most feasible and cost effective in meeting the project goals of improving mobility, travel times and corridor safety”. It is difficult to envision how a commuter rail from San Bernardino and terminating at the University of Redlands improves mobility for the 69,000 citizens of Redlands. In fact, an argument could be made that the mobility of 99% of the citizens of Redlands will be significantly impaired by numerous street crossings in down town Redlands. Further, when a project is “cost effective” it operates profitably, but the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBAG) officials on April 30 admitted that the rail to Redlands would operate at a loss every year into the future. Thus taxpayers are on the hook to subsidize the commuter rail. Although SanBAG analyzed various rail alternatives, no independent study has demonstrated a pressing need for commuter rail service between San Bernardino and the University of Redlands.
Harrison also states that, “SanBAG works to provide choices for people who are looking to move effectively and efficiently within the region”. How many choices of public transportation is a government obligated to provide? If this is a priority why not have a public helicopter service as a choice?
The justification for borrowing money on future Measure I ½ % sales tax income and incurring a debt service of “$78 million” is that “we as individuals might borrow to finance the construction or purchase of a home……SanBAG invokes the same strategy”. This analogy is specious because a home fulfills a need as opposed to SanBAG incurring a debt obligation for taxpayers on a project that has no demonstrable need. A more appropriate analogy would be: as home owners “we as individuals might borrow to finance” the purchase of a ski boat or a hot air balloon, and discover that our debt service is overwhelming!
In conclusion, Jon Harrison may write about the “true cost” and a “cost effective” project and opponents may disagree, but both sides agree that when the RPRP is operational, it will be taxpayer subsidized. As such the RPRP will be a perpetual burden on an already over taxed citizenry.
George Grames, 909-793-9430
The Inland Empire Transit Alliance