Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rail project would bring big-time change

If you want to be a big town, get ready for big projects.

That was part of the message Stacey Mortensen seemed to send at Tuesday's City Council meeting. The salvo — and hint that Tracy might be biting off more than it can chew — came during a discussion about where to locate a possible stop on a rail spur that would link the Central Valley and Bay Area arms of a statewide high-speed rail project.

Even though the regional rail commission director said that the high-speed project requires a bigger project than anything the downtown has ever seen — read: your cute little Tracy Transit Station just ain't going to cut it — the City Council wasn't dissuaded, throwing its support behind the idea that downtown is the spot to welcome passenger trains to Tracy.

But as great as having commuter/passenger trains in downtown Tracy would be, serious impacts could arise from a project that would have a scope that many of us might have underestimated. Including, if the infrastructure needed is as huge as Mortensen predicts, what kind of change in town can we expect?

Because it seems certain, at least, that if high-speed rail comes to Tracy, Tank Town will never be the same.

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