The Times is to be congratulated for its perceptive and supportive editorial for the improvement of transportation. Finally the media and more importantly, governments are beginning to realize what rail transportation advocates have been saying for years: Rail commuter service on existing rail lines can help the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties' transportation and air pollution problems.
However, what is appalling is the timetable for the projected Riverside to Orange County service. Why take five years for a job that could be done in as little as one year?
Equipment can be obtained from several sources. Both Amtrak and Metro-North of New York City have stored self-propelled rail diesel cars. A complete rebuild of these cars could be done in six months to a year. Another source of high-quality equipment would be the 87 cars stored by GO Transit of Toronto, Canada. GO Transit officials have put these cars up for sale. Finally the issue of financing: The easiest and fairest way would be to convert the 91 Freeway between Riverside and Orange County to a toll road. The revenues would go to starting and operating the proposed commuter line on the Santa Fe tracks that run parallel and the topic of the proposed new service. After all, the rail commuter would be supporting the highway commuter and other users by getting off the highway. Why shouldn't the highway user be willing to pay for an improvement in driving conditions, less congestion, less smog, and shorter driving times? Each rider on the train is one less driver on the road and that is a major highway improvement!
ROBERT C. CLARK