Napa Valley rail system would need a million riders

2012-01-11T17:15:00Z 2012-01-18T15:33:31Z Napa Valley rail system would need a million ridersPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
January 11, 2012 5:15 pm  • 

Backers of a proposal to bring light rail to the Napa Valley say they need at least a million riders annually and federal loans to pay $100 million to $200 million in capital costs.

Chuck McMinn of the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition presented his vision of light rail in the valley to the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency’s board of directors Wednesday afternoon.

McMinn asked the agency and Napa Transit Investors, a two-man consortium of him and developer Keith Rogal of Napa Pipe, to create a business plan and help finance its execution.

Board members will create a subcommittee to examine the proposal more closely and determine how much money the group would need.

Napa Transit Investors is still shy of the 

$2 million it needs to pay for the first steps of its proposal, but is getting closer, McMinn said Monday. McMinn and Rogal are working under a self-imposed deadline to raise this seed money by the end of January.

“I can’t say we’re there yet,” McMinn said.

The $2 million will pay for completing the business plan, submitting it to the federal loan program — which has $35 billion to dole out — and paying for initial operating costs, according to McMinn’s presentation.

The transit system would run passenger shuttle cars on Napa Valley Wine Train’s tracks from south Napa to Deer Park Road north of 

St. Helena. Trains would run every 20 minutes with a capacity of 110 to 225 people, McMinn said. There would be 15 to 20 stations at winery destinations and cities.

McMinn said Wine Train’s tracks will have to be replaced to hold light rail cars, which he has estimated to cost $1 million per mile. The project would also have to add crossing signals at intersecting driveways and roadways.

McMinn said the federal loan program would pay for all of the capital costs with 35-year loans.

“Fortunately there is a funding source available for this,” McMinn said. “There is more than enough capacity for our $100 to $200 million of funds. Money doesn’t get any less expensive than this kind of program.”

To run in the black, a light rail system would require a ridership of 1 million to 1.5 million people annually, McMinn said. Half of the riders are expected to be residents, the others would be tourists, he said.

“The business plan we have to create is a train that has to make money,” McMinn said. “We need a million to a million and a half riders to break even.”

To put that in perspective, McMinn said the Vine 10 bus route that runs from Calistoga to Vallejo has 260,000 riders annually who could ride the light rail system. 

McMinn said offering light rail as a means of exploring the Napa Valley would be appealing to wealthy tourists.

“We think we can attract a population ... that is price- insensitive,” McMinn said. “If we make this one of the coolest ways to explore the Napa Valley, they will pay $15 per ride.”

The proposed Napa Valley Vine Trail for pedestrians and bicyclists would run alongside the light rail. Trains would be equipped with bike racks so bicyclists could easily use it, McMinn said.

St. Helena Mayor Del Britton voiced support for the proposal, and said passing on this opportunity would be akin to passing on public ownership of the Wine Train 25 years ago.

“We look back at that now and say, ‘Well, that was really silly,’ ” Britton said. “We could look just as foolish today as we did 25 years ago.”

With no public buyer for former Southern Pacific tracks, they were purchased in the 1980s by Napa Valley Wine Train.

Calistoga City Councilmember Karen Slusser questioned if the light rail would bring enough people to her city, because it would stop short of Calistoga. 

McMinn said tourist and commuter buses could ferry light-rail riders into Calistoga, and bicyclists and hikers would also go north of the light rails’ end. Slusser countered that those riders may not be willing to stay overnight in Calistoga.

“We make our money by having people stay overnight in Calistoga,” Slusser said.

McMinn said Napa Transit Investors is having ongoing discussions with Union Pacific, which owns the right of way for tracks south of Kennedy Park, to get the light rail extended south to the Vallejo ferry building.

“We absolutely recognize that the goal of all this is to extend this all the way to the Vallejo ferry,” McMinn said.

McMinn said building light rail would alleviate traffic congestion, as Napa County is predicted to have 30 percent higher traffic volumes by 2030. Widening Highway 29 in choke points such as St. Helena is impossible, but light rail offers an alternative.

“It’s not like we’re going to be able to push cars through faster,” McMinn said.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(48) Comments

  1. Cookie
    Report Abuse
    Cookie - January 11, 2012 5:58 pm
    Take the money out of education, fire, and police funds.
  2. REPUBLICANKID
    Report Abuse
    REPUBLICANKID - January 11, 2012 6:16 pm
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Money Pit Ask Sacramento hoe there money loosing light rail Is Working out.
  3. antipc
    Report Abuse
    antipc - January 11, 2012 6:32 pm
    Double it to two million and the budget hawks at the NCTPA will still find a need to subsidize it.
  4. vineman
    Report Abuse
    vineman - January 11, 2012 8:34 pm
    This train could be funded by charging for rural parking like the Bay Area Air Quality staff wants. Or,we could charge the Bay Area Air Quality people if they drive to Napa. If the Bay Area Air Quality want to visit they could bike or walk for free. What a wonderful "win win" that would be.
  5. napat
    Report Abuse
    napat - January 11, 2012 9:39 pm
    Uh, oh! I smell Napa Pipe in this. No thanks!
  6. BennyD
    Report Abuse
    BennyD - January 11, 2012 10:24 pm
    This is a fantastic way to get the Napa Valley connected to the growing Eco-tourism industry globally. A targeted marketing program will help convey the ease and seamless transportation choices void of a car. This will ensure all tourism can be shifted to a controlled and efficient system. I would add that the Napa airport is also located on this corridor and can bring tourists and connect directly to this rail system.
  7. K
    Report Abuse
    K - January 11, 2012 10:45 pm
    1,000,000 riders a year = roughly 2,740 riders a day

    Doesn't sound very realistic to me.
  8. TruthHammer
    Report Abuse
    TruthHammer - January 12, 2012 12:34 am
    BennyD said: "This is a fantastic way to get the Napa Valley connected to the growing Eco-tourism industry globally. A targeted marketing program will help convey the ease and seamless transportation choices void of a car. This will ensure all tourism can be shifted to a controlled and efficient system. I would add that the Napa airport is also located on this corridor and can bring tourists and connect directly to this rail system."

    Maybe we could get it connected to the High Speed Rail in SF too? It's probably just another few million dollars, which is worth the increase in tourism i think.

    How can we get this on the agenda so our voice is heard to connect it? Wouldn't it be great to be able to hop on a train at Napa Pipe and eventually get all the way to Los Angeles!
  9. David Ingraham
    Report Abuse
    David Ingraham - January 12, 2012 2:04 am
    This something in Napa County we can live with out. It will be subsidized as the cost will never be returned to the people.
    This will be an engine for growth that the present infrastructure will not support. We do not even have a bay area bus connection: a much cheaper prospect for increasing tourism of public transit to Napa Valley. Our town once had a public rail system that ran down Jefferson St. and not to long ago, an empty bus system that drove through town.
  10. Cadence
    Report Abuse
    Cadence - January 12, 2012 6:50 am
    So the tourists on the coolest light rail ever debark along the tracks (aka hwy 29) and what - hike on over to their favorite winery?

    Not all wineries are on hwy 29.

    Not all tourists are capable of hiking or even cycling miles.

    Yeah, yeah, I've seen and used successful light rail. It's been in CITIES (Portland, Sacramento, San Jose) and when I've detrained it's always been within a block or so of bus connections with frequent bus stops.

    I understand county planners are planning on charging for street parking for new unincorporated development.

    I understand light rail will require a far more robust population than currently exists.

    Seems to me plans are afoot to ultimately develop the entire Napa Valley!
  11. BennyD
    Report Abuse
    BennyD - January 12, 2012 7:21 am
    Another opportunity for this light rail system is business conventions. Businesses having gatherings want easy access, convenience, and great destinations. A great match for the entire Napa Valley.
  12. UpValleyReader
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyReader - January 12, 2012 8:21 am
    It sounds like the plan depends on tourism riders. Most communities are aware that successful businesses depend on locals to keep the business going in off-season times. Napa county seems to lose track of that calculation when planning projects. Do we, as a community, have the ability to pull off that many riders per day?

    I also think it is highly unethical to try and focus important federal money on a pork project like a high speed train in a tourist area. Shouldn't that money go to places where it helps the most people, and not just people wealthy enough to have vacations in Napa Valley?
  13. FrankA
    Report Abuse
    FrankA - January 12, 2012 8:50 am
    If you read this and thought, "gee what a great use of government money we don't even have", please don't chime in with any sort of complaint when they announce the next round of cuts to schools, police, fire depts, or our crumbling roads.

  14. Pillow
    Report Abuse
    Pillow - January 12, 2012 9:06 am
    Cars will run every 20 minutes??? That will be a traffic disaster for Napa. And, they need it to be profitable??? What transsportation system has ever been profitable? I think they want the taxpayers to end up subsidizing it and buying them out...that'w when it will become profitable for the gentlemen developers, but it will be a disaster for taxpayers.
  15. UpValleyRose
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyRose - January 12, 2012 9:22 am
    Has anyone looked at the number of passengers riding "The Vine" bus system? I see only a few passengers on each bus, perhaps two or three, each time I see a Vine bus. Doubt the light rail system would work.

    What we really need is AFFORDABLE HOUSING upvalley. That would cut down on the traffic congestion. Just look at the long stream of commuters coming INTO the Napa Valley in the mornings on Jameson Canyon Road, and from American Canyon, and also from Santa Rosa, Lake County, etc. And watch the workers/commuters leaving in the evening. The big traffic problem is that there is almost no affordable housing in Napa Valley. FORGET light rail and work on the affordable housing problem.
  16. BennyD
    Report Abuse
    BennyD - January 12, 2012 9:31 am
    UpValleyReader said: "It sounds like the plan depends on tourism riders. Most communities are aware that successful businesses depend on locals to keep the business going in off-season times. Napa county seems to lose track of that calculation when planning projects. Do we, as a community, have the ability to pull off that many riders per day? I also think it is highly unethical to try and focus important federal money on a pork project like a high speed train in a tourist area. Shouldn't that money go to places where it helps the most people, and not just people wealthy enough to have vacations in Napa Valley? "

    Private and public funds are the only way to develop this kind of useful infrastructure. It's a win/win for our community and for business, not to mention tackling our escalating traffic problems.

  17. FrankA
    Report Abuse
    FrankA - January 12, 2012 9:32 am
    This has tot be the worst plan I have ever read of in the NVR.

    Please, shut down the NCPTA!

    This is the absurd nonsense they spend their time coming up with?

    Costs of $100-$200 million- only 100% margin of error.

    Need ridership of 1 million to 1.5 million- only a 50% margin of error.

    $2 million just to develop a business plan and submit a request for $200 million of tax dollars to play with.

    It is impossible to replace over 20 miles of train track, instal 15+ new stations and install crossing signals at all driveways and cross roads for $200 million- put a 'B' in there someplace and you might be close.

    These trains will run every 20 minutes? What will THAT do to traffic congestion?

    How's about the cost of infinite lawsuits from environmental groups and neighboring properties?

    Please, it is time to shut down the NCPTA. They were created to manage buses, they don't even do that anymore(outsourced).





  18. FrankA
    Report Abuse
    FrankA - January 12, 2012 9:37 am
    The article does state the true purpose of this plan, its to get a portion of that %35 billion federal grant money.

    Whether rail happens or not they really don't care, and likely know full well will never come to fruition. But in the mean time, with $100-$200 million of borrowed tax dollars, they will pay themselves huge salaries, write infinite reports, litigate countless lawsuits, and in the end demand more money before anything substantive is ever accomplished.

    THAT is the "business plan".

  19. NapaCitizen
    Report Abuse
    NapaCitizen - January 12, 2012 10:15 am
    This is California. You will never get people out of their cars. Cars are an extension of egos in a lot of cases. Rural Napa Valley is spread out and no public transportation to "link" the trains to hop between wineries.

    We could not even get a successful Vanpool or Trolley bus in Napa? So lets go all in with a rail system? Not.
  20. UpValleyRose
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyRose - January 12, 2012 10:18 am
    Out with Light Rail and in with AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Check out the ridership (or lack thereof) of the current public transit system--the Vine. Almost no one on the bus every time I see one between St Helena and Napa. The huge volume of commuters coming INTO the Valley in the mornings from all roads (Jameson Canyon, American Canyon, Hwy 12 from Sonoma, Hwy 29 from lake County, Calistoga Rd from Santa Rosa) and leaving at night says a lot. These commuters are living outside Napa County due to LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
  21. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 12, 2012 10:54 am
    FrankA said: "The article does state the true purpose of this plan, its to get a portion of that %35 billion federal grant money. "

    Well, aside from the pipe influence, tapping into $35bil of 'free' money is certainly one of the "win" components of 'win-win'.

    We have grown an industry that's only purpose is the lucrative harvesting of this 'free' money.

    I personally would LOVE for something like this to be practical. But anything with the piped-in influence is obviously full of potential fraud just because of the past history. A leopard can paint over its spots, but it won't ever be a housepet you could trust to not eat your children to fatten it belly.

    Pull out the piping problem, and I would have a lot more trust in this proposal. I'd rather have BART, though.

    With all the opposition to Wine Train's 2-3 trains/day, I can't imagine this will sell well unless someone sees a way to make money. Unfortunately, the grant train stops at AmCan station.
  22. lupmart
    Report Abuse
    lupmart - January 12, 2012 11:09 am
    Come on FrankA ... if you were reading and paying attention, you would know that the NCTPA is not the driving force behind this at all. This was a presentation to the NCPTA, not by it. These are private investors looking for federal loan money. I would certainly agree that this whole thing doesn't sound feasible, with or without subsidies. But at least get your story straight before you criticize it.
  23. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 12, 2012 11:13 am
    It's nice to see McMinn and Rogal embracing the idea that we have too many cars coming up Hwy.29.

    With those motivations, I'm sure neither of them would, for any reason, advocate adding to that traffic. To do so would be demonstrative of hypocritical opportunism.

    Fortunately for them, many people around here don't seem to have a problem with that, as long as they get their fare $hare.
  24. BennyD
    Report Abuse
    BennyD - January 12, 2012 11:32 am
    NapaCitizen said: "This is California. You will never get people out of their cars. Cars are an extension of egos in a lot of cases. Rural Napa Valley is spread out and no public transportation to "link" the trains to hop between wineries. We could not even get a successful Vanpool or Trolley bus in Napa? So lets go all in with a rail system? Not."
    The younger generation of tourists are not bought into that non-sense. If you have travel through Europe and Asia, you will get a better sense of growing trends.

  25. burgundywine
    Report Abuse
    burgundywine - January 12, 2012 12:45 pm
    Excuse me but the federal government does not have $35 billion to "dole" out. In case you didn't know the federal government is $16 trillion in debt and that is only what they are telling us about. The Chinese government will be financing this project and every other boondoggle you people dream up.
  26. chunk215
    Report Abuse
    chunk215 - January 12, 2012 12:53 pm
    Why the talk of affordable housing? I want to live in the Hollywood hills. Not. But if I did I doubt people would break their backs to give me affordable housing. Sometimes you have to move to where the work is, the housing you can afford, etc. It's just the way it is sometimes. There's affordable houses in Napa. Maybe not your first choice dream home but you can always buy that later right? I decided Oregon was a little more affordable for me but family is all in Napa or surrounding areas.
  27. UpValleyRose
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyRose - January 12, 2012 3:25 pm
    Lack of affordable housing, and having to commute from other counties to work in Napa County is the reason for a large part of the heavy traffic. Light rail proponents want to lighten the traffic problems. This county has not addressed the housing needs of the workers appropriately. 30 years ago housing was much more affordable for a secretary, a mechanic, and nurse, a fireman, teacher, etc.
  28. lucylutoo
    Report Abuse
    lucylutoo - January 12, 2012 6:35 pm
    "Chuck McMinn said there are 260,000 people who ride the VINE annually who could ride the light rail system."

    Wake up folks! Do you honestly believe VINE riders can, and will be able to afford $15. It may be "appealing to wealthy tourists" as you say, but not to those who live here.
  29. NAPAsince1976
    Report Abuse
    NAPAsince1976 - January 12, 2012 8:51 pm
    NCPTA "Board members will create a subcommittee to examine the proposal more closely and determine how much money the group would need". THAT IS CLEARLY IN THE ARTICLE. So, NCPTA wants to give our tax dollars to this private consortium made up of two private individuals, Rogal and McMinn? NCPTA wants the public to pass a tax increase for Rogal and McMinn. Sheer banditry! The rail proposal is ludicrous. I say "redevelop" the NCPTA...time to dissolve this bloated bureaucracy! There is no way I am voting for any tax increase for NCPTA!


  30. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 12, 2012 8:59 pm
    UpValleyRose said: "Lack of affordable housing, and having to commute from other counties to work in Napa County is the reason for a large part of the heavy traffic... "

    A large part of the traffic is going to work outside of Napa.

    It's all great to travel to other places like Europe and Asia to see their growing trends, like out-of-control pollution and nuclear power. But I travel here more often than I travel there. That tends to make it more relevant to me.

    The smart way to do things isn't after it's way to late to do it. Railways work overseas because they've always had tracks. They're not in the business of putting railways into already existing cities.

  31. UpValleyRose
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyRose - January 13, 2012 8:18 am
    reason-ator said: " A large part of the traffic is going to work outside of Napa...... Railways work overseas because they've always had tracks. They're not in the business of putting railways into already existing cities."

    True, some live in Napa County and work outside the county, but the larger portion of traffic is coming into the county in the mornings and leaving in the evenings

    re:Europe--passenger railway & public transit, in general, works there because there is a very high concentration of people and railway stations, and the people have grown up using them. Californians (& Americans) are so used to their cars it is difficult to get them out of them --they might have to (gasp!) WALK a few blocks! 20 miles of track that doesn't connect to other tracks to Solano/Lake/Sonoma counties isn't going to help much. One would have to have a car available at BOTH ends of the 20 miles to commute farther than Napa or St Helena
  32. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 13, 2012 10:14 am
    UpValleyRose said: "- --they might have to (gasp!) WALK a few blocks! "


    Yeah, I wasn't very considerate when I was able to walk a few blocks, either. But I wasn't so self-absorbed that I would mock them for being resistant to a complete lifetyle-reversal that would not accomodate them.

    But I was smart enough to run thousands of miles to get to where I started, and now I can barely get to my car some days.

    But, hey, young kids on the other side of the world with mega miles of existing railways see a kool trend, so tax me for something I can't use ?

    As much as I would like to have useful transportation railway here (and regret all the other opportunities we missed), it does no good to someone' (not you) credibility to connect it to something completely irrelevant as justification.

    I've been all over Europe without a car by using rail. I GET it. I wish we HAD it.

    So lets get it will promises linked to relevance. We have way more mileage than others to do.
  33. wilycoyote
    Report Abuse
    wilycoyote - January 13, 2012 12:21 pm
    To UpValleyRose: Houses in Napa County have not been as affordable as they are now in 20 years. Why don't you buy one now and take advantage of low taxes and interest rates at 50 year lows?
  34. vocal-de-local
    Report Abuse
    vocal-de-local - January 13, 2012 1:08 pm
    At first read, this idea sounded interesting. On second thought, I realized it won't work because it will cater primarily to Valley wineries. There are hundreds of small wineries up in the hills, far from the valley floor. The hassle of making arrangements for a secondary vehicle to transport people from the valley floor to hillside wineries will be more costly than just taking their own vehicle. Plus, driving a personal vehicle allows for freedom to move along at your own pace. This will not work and I also suspect it's driven by development interests. These developers need to get a grip on the fact that Napans (from all political persuasions btw) are not interested in more development.
  35. UpValleyRose
    Report Abuse
    UpValleyRose - January 13, 2012 1:18 pm
    reasonator -- I wholeheartedly apologize to those that are physically unable to walk a few blocks--my comment did not include them. I was referring to able bodied people who would rather drive everywhere, when they could easily walk.

    Also, having lived in Europe myself for several years I miss the convenience of jumping on a bus, train, or tram. But I did often have to walk several blocks or more to reach the public transit system.

    Back on subject--I don't think light rail on current Wine Train tracks would have sufficient riders to make it worthwhile, even though it is a grand idea (in fact, I like it) but there is just not enough population here that would/could ride it to make it profitable, after having spent millions to install it and the stations, etc. Unlike Europe (Germany & UK at least) where there is over 600 people per square mile. Napa County's is more like 173 per square mile (not counting tourists, of course), plus we love our cars and the freedom to drive anywhere.
  36. vocal-de-local
    Report Abuse
    vocal-de-local - January 13, 2012 1:22 pm
    UpValleyRose, we cannot stomp housing footprints into the Upper Valley landscape. This area is tourist dependent. They do not come here to view rows of affordable housing with vineyards in between. You will NEVER be able to make Upvalley prices match Lake County prices either. There's a reason Napa County is a more expensive place to live than Lake County. For one thing, it maintains its beauty by not allowing affordable housing to dot the landscape. We do, however, need temporary farmworker housing that is portable and not too noticeable. The industry is dependent on an undocumented workforce to keep wages down. Taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize this practice. The solution is 'portable' housing on vineyards that hire a large % of undocumented (and supposedly) temporary workers. Small vineyards will be exempt just because it's not practical for them. You will always have people driving from Lake/Sonoma counties for work in Napa County. They cannot all be housed here.
  37. Napan since 1965
    Report Abuse
    Napan since 1965 - January 13, 2012 1:37 pm
    Pillow said on: January 12, 2012, 9:06 am Cars will run every 20 minutes??? That will be a traffic disaster for Napa.

    You got that right, Pillow!!! I happen to live on the west side of Highway 29, and often need to cross the train tracks to run errands, etc., etc.

    I do NOT want to deal with a train stopping all vehicle and pedestrian traffic every 20 minutes, while they creep past the intersection, just like the Wine Train currently does...

    4-GET IT!!!
  38. Phillyball
    Report Abuse
    Phillyball - January 13, 2012 1:45 pm
    Napa pipe developer want this to happen for his own purpose.
    The other angle is to get water to the East side of Napa.
    Both allow his project to go thru.

    Don't fall for this !!!!
  39. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 13, 2012 8:13 pm
    Phillyball said: "Napa pipe developer want this to happen for his own purpose. The other angle is to get water to the East side of Napa. Both allow his project to go thru.Don't fall for this !!!!"

    No WAY !?!

    We're too smart to get manipulated like that, aren't we ?

    If he was really doing this just to grease his skids, he'd be doing something to establish a synergistic/parasitic relationship with the city of Napa, not just trying to give the appearance of helping his relationship with the County of Napa.

    Nope. He's just a benevolent guy. Money is the least of his concerns. He loves Napans so much that he wants there to be as many Napans as possible before he leaves.

    But I suppose my opinion could maybe change, for the right amount of money.
  40. gettingreal
    Report Abuse
    gettingreal - January 13, 2012 9:48 pm
    A proven system like BART is the only thing that would get my vote. NCPTA is a joke!!
  41. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - January 14, 2012 10:16 am
    UpValleyRose said: "reasonator -- I wholeheartedly apologize ...."

    No worries. My point was about people who want to spend zillions of dollars because it doesn't matter if our society doesn't fit the model of those that we lust after who built their model with 0.001% or less money than we will to get a severely compromised version that will be rife with admini$tration.

    I try to envision how long a typical outing could take uing public transportation. We'd go to our daughter's house, pick up grandkids (toddlers) and take them to the park, and then stop at a grocery store before I take the kids home and then return to our house on public transportation. It would take ALL day and we wouldn't be able to bring our groceries home. We don't have neighborhood markets within walking distance here. Fix that before you fix transportation systems to fit a model that we don't have.

    I wish we'd use credible arguments to argue for things I already want. Not dissuasive propaganda.

  42. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - January 15, 2012 11:01 am
    I had to say there are more than a few excellent comments posted here....that said:

    “…a million to a million and a half riders to break even…”

    Not exactly a precise guess… then again considering the trillions wasted since liberalism took over the federal free money program, and depending on political donations…could be one of the better Business Plans under consideration, as hard as that is to believe.

    This, plan? proposal?, is a long…long-long way from being a viable business, and at current rate of cash burn millions more will be spent before anyone has a clear understanding of a break even point. I would add if ever, considering the variables which will require assumptions.

    Just because money is cheap doesn’t mean it’s easy or even possible.
  43. SlowhandKev
    Report Abuse
    SlowhandKev - January 17, 2012 6:32 am
    I think we all applaud and encourage trying to find ways to help the local economy and infrastructure but even at first glance everyone knows the logistics and numbers don't work. Counting on a business model that relies on a million plus price-insensitive customers a year is nuts.
  44. 5th Generation Napan
    Report Abuse
    5th Generation Napan - January 17, 2012 11:54 am
    I guess I am really old and learned way outdated econ's. But what ever happened to the philosophy of start small, and build the business? Have a short small regular scheduled trolley / commuter train inbetween the Wine train run. Use existing tracks, serve local commuters to the Vallejo Ferry and build up the business. Keep it inexpensive and add on as the profits / business expands. Today seem like everone HAS to build the final product first no matter what the cost. So we see lots of broke monuments to economic stupidity!
  45. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - January 18, 2012 12:35 pm
    Amen 5th Gen….

    It seems to me they want to swing for the fence using other, tax payers, people’s money…..

    There’s a tried and true saying that applies to life across the board…‘if it sounds too good to be true.. it is…’

    Is this case the only thing that even approaches appealing, as an investor, is the government backed money, the rest is way too vague to seriously value.
  46. ahblid
    Report Abuse
    ahblid - January 18, 2012 5:19 pm
    glenroy said: "Amen 5th Gen….It seems to me they want to swing for the fence using other, tax payers, people’s money….. There’s a tried and true saying that applies to life across the board…‘if it sounds too good to be true.. it is…’Is this case the only thing that even approaches appealing, as an investor, is the government backed money, the rest is way too vague to seriously value."

    Glenroy,

    On average in this country, according to data from the National Transit Database, in 2010 it cost 90 cents per passenger mile to move people on a bus and 70 cents to do the same thing with light rail. After deducting revenues from the fare boxes, that works out to a taxpayer cost of 66 cents per passenger mile for a bus and only 50 cents for light rail.

    Since Other People's money really means yours & mine, would you rather the swing away for the more expensive buses with your money? Or would you prefer the cheaper light rail?

  47. misofrappacino
    Report Abuse
    misofrappacino - February 01, 2012 9:59 am
    I don't understand how a proposal like this can happen that has such obvious usefulness completely omitted. How can that happen? Just connect it all the way from Calistoga to the BART, and this will be a truly valuable, useable, and celebrated system. And yes, include the airport too. How can anyone talk about a rail system that doesn't connect the obvious vital points on a map???
  48. Department of Terroir Security
    Report Abuse
    Department of Terroir Security - February 06, 2012 1:58 pm
    See further discussion of this issue at the Department of Terroir Security website at:

    http://terroirsecurity.com/?p=373
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick