By Shirley Humphrey
If you read the Sacramento Bee on Sunday, you may have noticed or read an article by Tony Bizjak. His article was titled, “Will a Train Ever Stop at Dixon Depot.” To read this article go to this url:
A few key points were:
- Passenger trains do not stop in Dixon currently and it could be years before one stops. Union Pacific, the company that owns the tracks, does not have any plans to approve a stop any time soon. The one caveat is that Solano Transportation Authority is looking at updating the transportation plan and whether or not a stop in Dixon would be viable. Results will be available in two or three months.
- Mayor Batchelor believes the money spent on the possible train stop to date ($1.3 million for train station, $600 to 700 thousand for parking lot, and $7 million for the jack hole or West B Street undercrossing) has been well spent. He is employing a build it and they will come strategy. Further, he stated, “If you just live for today and not build for future needs, the town will die. I will make it (passenger train stop) one of my goals (to achieve before his term ends).”
- A former councilman commented “the city’s train efforts are delusional and argues that few commuters would use it even if a train stops.”
In reading the article, one has the impression that the officials involved all stick together. For example, Mat Ehrhardt, Yolo Solano Air Quality District said, “We fund some projects that are a little speculative… Our grants are about innovation and pushing boundaries.”
Regarding the mayor’s “If you build it, he will come.” This was in the Field of Dreams movie, and it was said by a disembodied voice. So Costner builds a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield and everyone thinks he’s crazy. When the field is done, ghost baseball players come out and play and the family interacts with them. Thousands of people come from miles away to see the games. Eventually Costner’s dad (who was dead) came out and played and there was an emotional moment and Costner finds closure. Are we looking for ghosts and dead people in Dixon? Also Teddy Roosevelt said “If you build it, they will come.” He was the 26th president. Perhaps Mayor Batchelor is thinking of the fraudulent proposal from Carissa Carpenter.
The former councilman’s statement that if a passenger train stops in Dixon, a few people will take the train to San Francisco or Sacramento is the most probable scenario. The likelihood of passengers getting off the train in Dixon to buy a cup of coffee or a meal is remote. I have traveled on trains all over the US, China, Russia, Australia, Canada, etc. and not once did I get off the train to buy refreshments at a mid-way stop. I bought these items on the train.
If the mayor truly believes the town will die if new businesses or passenger trains don’t stop here, then a strategy and goal should be undertaken to find a major business to locate here. If so, freight transportation, not passenger train stops, is needed. A siding can be put in for freight to be transported quickly and efficiently. Further, people who live in Dixon say they like Dixon because it is a small town—not one has said they almost did not move here or planned to move because there was no passenger train stop.
The mayor stated his goal is to get the passenger stop – we do not live under a one man rule, the issue should be put on the ballot immediately to determine if it is a community goal or just the mayor’s vision. If it requires a special election, the cost should not be considered. After all, local and state officials say they often speculate on potential innovative projects. After all it is “free” money. No accountability is required.