Castle Rail Hub Is The Start Of Something Great For Our County
We have watched that train engine go back and forth for a long time, wondering if we made a mistake when we endorsed the Rail hub project at Castle.
We were having our doubts.
Then, the state granted $49 million in funding for the Castle Rail hub project, and suddenly Merced County has a major economic engine which will draw our area into the next century.
The project made sense from the very start. Truck transport to the major shipping ports was being jammed up and the cost of moving freight was continually going up. Rail transport represents a major savings, and environmentally speaking, it helps to save the air quality in our valley.
There is another important factor which cannot be overlooked, and this is good paying jobs. Our valley is short of good paying jobs, and without those jobs, we will not be able to to compete with other counties.
Our costs for law enforcement, fire protection and road improvements are equal to those of other counties which have the ability to raise funds. We can’t raise funds if our workers are underpaid.
Until now, the state has pretty much turned a blind eye to the problems of counties like ours which are unable to afford what other counties are able to pay for in terms of adequate services.
Now maybe we will be able to fight the battle.
This is the battle of the homeless. The battle of good health care. The battle of keeping our streets safe and building good schools. This battle will go on, no matter what.
We can’t tax the poor because they are already overtaxed. We raise the price on gas and that only makes the matter worse, because it is the poor who suffer most. They have to get to work and home no matter what amount of taxes the state heaps on gas.
The next step in the Castle Rail hub is to complete the Atwater-Merced Expressway so it connects with Castle. That can not wait.
Castle itself is under built. It should have ten times the amount of businesses it does have now, and ten times the amount of jobs coming from the old base. Just compare it with other former air bases that were shut down around the same time.
The Castle Rail hub is certainly not complete with this big windfall of grant money.
It is seed money only, and how it is used will determine the future. We need to keep an eye out in order to see this funding is used wisely.
There is also the problem of the rail crossing at Santa Fe Road. There will have to be some major construction to see this does not turn into a traffic jam.
Meanwhile, let’s give a round of applause to all those who worked for the county and had a hand in getting the grant for the Castle Rail hub.
Good on you!