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Rail as an Option for Transportation

May 01, 1988

Before The Times becomes enraptured over the Las Vegas people mover as a solution to Orange County traffic woes, it may wish to examine an existing line already in place.

As a daily rider between San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ana on Amtrak's San Diegan, I, along with hundreds of my fellow passengers, have already discovered the joy of forsaking the automobile.

Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties should immediately open talks with Caltrans, Amtrak, the railroad and the federal government for the purpose of utilizing the existing right of way between San Diego and Los Angeles. With improvements such as double tracking, welded rails, lighter cars with automatic doors and computerized station access points, some 500,000 people a day could be moved along that corridor.

In addition, there are other unused corridors between San Bernardino and Riverside on the one hand and Los Angeles and Orange counties on the other. These could also be developed, thus relieving congestion on the San Bernardino, Pomona and Riverside freeways.

Why is it we can't expand upon and use what is already here instead of becoming enamored of spending $50 million a mile for a futuristic machine moving over freeways yet to be built?

The need is now. A partial solution exists. What is lacking is our collective will.

DONALD E. SMALLWOOD

San Juan Capistrano

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