Regarding your article on a railroad feasibility study ("Views," May 2: "Yes" or "No"), the study is a waste of money because railroad costs are far out of reach, on the order of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Where would this money possibly come from?! For the last 30 or more years, including boom times with budget surpluses, we never had the votes and political clout to raise a fraction of the money, along with commitments to subsidize operating losses.
California's budget is precariously balanced, and sequesters and tea party budgets are strangling federal money. Promoters excited about port/railroad synergy should read Journal interviews of nearby port managers about port economics, and listen to the NPR radio program about negative impacts of the Panama Canal's expansion on West Coast ports. Proponents argue: How do you know if we don't study it? This logic also justifies paying for a feasibility study of building a land bridge from here to Hawaii; I'd love to drive my car on a bridge to Hawaii, but a map and common sense about costs, with no "study" needed, tells me my tax dollars shouldn't pay for a bridge feasibility study. Like a Hawaii bridge proposal, simple, realistic cost estimates, without a study, show a railroad is financially far out of reach. Railroad promoters are smart, their intentions are good, but there is no justification to spend money to study a north/south, east/west, or port/railroad project. We will never, ever have the money needed. And fortunately we have other economic development options for our port and our area that are worth studying and which will help us now, if our community and government leaders will just pursue them.
Jeff Knapp, Arcata