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Rail as an Option for Transportation

May 01, 1988

Environmentalists and harried motorists are doubtless rejoicing in Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder's call for "a pollution-free people-mover system that floats passenger cars along a magnetic field along elevated tracks" (April 24).

But it's doubtful that she'll get huzzahs from her conservative camp. For its historical agenda has been "down with environmental quality--let the money flow in. Forget wildlife habitat, and what polluted air? And up with housing development."

A star in that camp's crown has been its development darling the San Joaquin Freeway, paraded as a traffic unclogger to cloak its real purpose: access to projected developments. You see, if you get a real people-mover, the cloak becomes transparent.

But whether the camp likes it or not, it may have to grin and bear it, though the camp has routinely fought mass transit. Wieder's idea, I think, will catch fire. It should.

Such roadblocks as the camp may thrust before it--such as "where's the money coming from?"--will turn out to be paper roadblocks and will be seen as foolish attempts to thwart plans to improve traffic. And this time an initiative will pass. It should.

TOM ALEXANDER

Laguna Beach

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