In response to "Rich Tide of Commerce Being Dammed Up on Land," editorial, March 1:
I was pleased to read your comments regarding the clear and pressing need for major improvements along the Alameda Corridor, along with your recognition that such improvements along this rail line should be of a "pressing regional priority."
As one of the two big hurdles remaining before construction can begin, you mentioned the three railroads that use the existing corridor lines must reach agreement with port officials for the sale of their existing rights of way.
I wish to inform you that the ports have indeed reached what they consider to be equitable agreements with both Santa Fe and Union Pacific. However, we have been unable to finalize negotiations with Southern Pacific. In fact, I had recently stated that I felt the ports have done everything reasonably possible to consummate a reasonable agreement with Southern Pacific. Undoubtedly, a major impediment to the negotiations thus far has been Southern Pacific officials' feeling that their particular right of way is indispensable to the construction of this vital rail and highway corridor.
At this point, and in view of the importance of the project to the public, I would favor submitting the matter to the Interstate Commerce Commission in order that ICC officials might determine a price to be paid for the property based on the valuation standards prescribed by statute. I would support whatever figure was arrived at, and I would hope that Southern Pacific would do the same. I might add that the California Transportation Commission members recently indicated their support for this approach to determine fair market value, absent any consideration of business value, particularly in light of Southern Pacific's continued use of this soon-to-be-enhanced corridor.
DAVID L. HAUSER, President, Long Beach Harbor Commission Board Member, Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority