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Another Letter to the Editor out of Novato...

What do you guys think? 

I personally believe the NCRA is doing a good job, considering there wasn't movements for 8 or so years, although there are things that need to be fixed in it. 

I didn't know the NWPco wasn't paying trackage fees?



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Comment by Richard Steingruber on March 27, 2013 at 9:08pm

Two more lumber cars left Windsor on Monday March25.  Smart contractors pulled up the tracks at Guernville road after train had passed.

Comment by Jim McCarter on January 31, 2013 at 6:16pm

I have followed NCRA and Smart since their inception, beginning about 1990. I have attended dozens of meetings to observe and have spoken at some by request (NCRA), and always in favor or argument for freight. All the comments so far are correct. But Bob Cleek drilled it perfectly. NCRA should get an award for doing what they have done without funding. State creation and mandate, state vetoes funding nearly 20 years ago. Regards Marin, direct connections between anti freight supervisors, some smart board and ncra board members and novato city manager (who went to Concord and has since regressed to Vallejo and is currently try to stop Mare Island rail). We all probably know their names, but the fact is they are anti freight and are all working together as we speak to derail NCRA.So as a suggestion, take the articles lightly as many things are written that are incomplete, suggestive, or out of context. If there is ever a contraction or correction you will never be able to find it in the paper.I have said elsewhere my main reason to support Smart was the assurance of the rail line as a rail line. I hope Smart succeeds, but I am hoping for freight to succeed even more.

Comment by Bob Cleek on January 31, 2013 at 11:08am

The NCRA's history is interesting.  Note that the agency really never had adequate funding.  It was, IIRC, so little regarded that local (Marin) governments failed to even appoint the board members they were supposed to appoint.  Allan Hemphill seems to have held things together near singlehandedly for years.  The NCRA was, and continues to be, under assault by every flako eco-fascist group around, all trying to prevent any sort of "development" and any resumption of North Coast rail service. (I.e. "Friends of the Eel River," Sierra Club... etc.)  Then, when the NCRA finally manages to get to the point where an operating railroad actually exists, the local governments (Marin) appoint NCRA opponents to the NCRA board to further push the eco-fascist agenda.  Bernie Meyers is a has-been politcal hack who is now using his position on the NCRA board to pander to what he thinks is an "environmentalist" political base.  It's all typical political sabotage... no different that appointing rabid SMART opponent Susan Adams to the SMART board the day after her crew lost the election to repeal SMART's funding.  What do they think the voters are smokin'?  Whatever it is... they must be right, because the voters keep electing them!

Comment by jbriogrande on January 31, 2013 at 9:07am

  Lawrence and Mike are right on......the NCRA was caught between a rock and a hard place, and they had little capital to work with.  These factors all added to the NCRA being an entity on paper with not a lot of backing or backbone.  They did their best......but......we can see the end result.

Comment by Mike Davis on January 31, 2013 at 8:50am

In my opinion, the NCRA was caught between a rock and a hard place from the beginning, when they were started in 1989, the NCRA was sent out to run a high maintenance railroad that had been neglected by the SP in an area past it's economic prime with no funding from the government. 

Comment by Lawrence LaBranche on January 31, 2013 at 8:35am

If I may. If the NCRA hadn't come along, the line would of been abandoned, making SMART impossible. The railroad was bought, without providing money to operate or maintain. That set the stage for problems. How do you do proper accounting if you do not have the money to do that? Proper accounting is now being done, thanks to the county of Sonoma. Trains had not been ran for a long time.  Add to that Marin and environmentalists working against reopening the railroad. With this history, credit is hard for NCRA. NWP co provided financing for NCRA to complete the work at risk to them. It is not the fault of NWP co that it took so long to reopen the time. There is a provision to pay trackage fees in the contract, after x amount of profit. Lets face it, it is expensive to run a railroad.

Comment by jbriogrande on January 30, 2013 at 10:53pm

Thanks Chad for the article......In my opinion, and through my experience, the NCRA has been a very loose knit, disorganized organization.  It is time for a new entity to supersede NCRA and take over responsibilities which have been delegated to it.  In other words.....the NCRA is like an old GP-7 with fried traction motors.....the NWP is coming along like an ES44-C4 right off the assembly line with SMART adding some frosting to the railroads cake.......

Comment by Jim McCarter on January 30, 2013 at 9:00pm

There seems to be one board member who has nit picked and harassed the NCRA actions since his time appointed. Also, in recent board meetings the subject of writing articles to media was addressed and I believe rules and regulations regarding that were brought up to eliminate either bad or tainted or confidential information reaching the media. I believe the trackage no pay may be during current negotiations and construction delays as well as being considered "back burner" as NCRA owes NWP alot for their contribution towards construction costs to hurry up FRA lifting of repair order. Maybe NCRA can't pay NWP, so doesn"t make NWP pay NCRA so they are going do it with accounting. Just my opinion 

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