Dear Editor:

When I visited the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Intermodalism following the conclusion of the 35th Transportation Law Institute in Washington, D.C., I got the same response as I have on each of my previous visits: Where is your leadership?

It was the same thing at the Federal Railroad Administration’s headquarters.

President Bush’s decision Nov. 27 giving final approval for fully allowing the Mexican trucks access to all of the nation’s highways only served to heighten the Central Coast’s lack of transport alternatives.

Without intermodal facilities in the region, and with the Mexican carriers undercutting ours, we will start harvesting the bitter fruit of a government’s lack of foresight and leadership.

San Benito County is letting a golden opportunity pass it by. Congress is already soliciting state and local government officials for transportation recommendations to be included in reauthorization legislation for the Transportation Equity Act for the 21 century, which Traffic World predicts will have “one quarter of a trillion dollars on the table.”

Neither Silicon Valley nor the Salinas Valley has this badly needed transportation infrastructure improvement on their long-range plans. But how long do you think that is going to last?

SBC’s inaction, like a headless horseman, will the county to lose jobs, economic development, tax revenues and additional commerce.

I ask myself the same thing: Where are our leaders?

Is there anyone in elected office who gives a darn about our economic development and what the absence of intermodal options means to our agribusiness and other shippers and receivers?

Under the guidance of Strategic Rail Finance Corporation, whose president accepted my invitation to meet with our Rail Advisory Committee, Eastern Washington state ag is seeing restoration of intermodal facilities.

What do they have that we don’t have? Is it leadership?

The new year is going to bring us much news about transportation, but it appears to me that San Benito County will be sitting on the sidelines watching the action.

Joe Thompson

Tres Pinos

Member, SBC Citizens Rail Advisory Committee and Legislation Committee, Transportation Lawyers Association

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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