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Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission to revisit Rail Trail business plan

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Santa Cruz County

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Last month, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission rejected a business plan for a passenger rail line but a meeting will occur again on May 6th to revisit the plan.

This plan would outline possible plans for a passenger rail service from Watsonville to Davenport.

The Rail Trail business plan is a 66 page document that outlines a 32 miles passenger rail service that stretches from Watsonville to Davenport.

The non-profit organization, Friends of the Rail and Trail, states that the point of the plan is to expand public transportation options, reduce commute time and stress, and aims to be eco-friendly. The organizations say they've garnered more support for the plan which was recently struck down by a split vote last month.

Faina Segal, the board chair of the organization feels that plan like this would benefit the county.

"It will change us forever and connect us in ways that we haven't been connected since the 1920s. It is the way that we'll be able to get out of our cars and enjoy the coast," says Segal.

However, the plan did garner some criticism from some commission members including Manu Koenig, the first district supervisor for Santa Cruz County who states in his April newsletter that the rail would be an expensive endeavor for the county.

 "Even if we win every available state and federal grant (which is unlikely), we'd be missing $198 million of capital funds to construct the project and 150 million to operate it over 25 years," said Koenig.

For Segal, she's seen support for the business plan including from the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club, Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County, among others.

"What we've seen is an outpouring of a little bit of anger and a little bit of surprise that the RTC Commissioner are not moving forward with this plan," says Segal.

There are plans to revisit the business plan during the RTC meeting on May 6th.

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Stephanie Aceves

Stephanie Aceves is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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