FEBRUARY 18, 2021—SANTA CRUZ, CA—Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail & Trail (FORT) today announced the election of a new Board Chair, Faina Segal, who will serve for the next year.
Faina grew up in Watsonville and is especially passionate about improving access to opportunities for students in South County. Faina joined the Friends of the Rail & Trail Board of Directors in 2019, and brought her impressive organizing and partnership-building experience from her career in Silicon Valley to enhance the processes, systems and tools needed to grow FORT’s membership and impact .
“FORT has been instrumental in advocating for expanded public transportation in Santa Cruz County, which I believe is a keystone investment to building a more equitable and sustainable future for our county,” Segal said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to give back to my community by being a part of this movement.”
Faina is a big believer in public transportation, and has commuted via METRO to Cabrillo, UCSC and San Jose throughout her life. After graduating from UC San Diego, Faina worked for many years building global partnerships in Silicon Valley. Now she brings her experience to work toward equitable access to transportation resources throughout the county. Her background in engineering and technology also puts environmental issues at the forefront of her community involvement. Faina is committed to creating sustainable transportation options to contribute to an environmentally tenable plan for our community.
“Faina brings her impressive organizational and marketing experience to Friends of the Rail & Trail, which has allowed us to modernize our use of technology and improve our communication with the community,” said Sally Arnold, who served as FORT Board Chair Chair for 2019 and 2020. “I look forward to seeing where her leadership takes FORT in 2021."
FORT is currently working to promote the Coast Connect vision of a robust, modern, and efficient transportation system in Santa Cruz County through advocacy and educational programs.
“We believe the transportation infrastructure in our county should reflect our shared values of inclusion, equity, sustainability, and economic opportunity for all,” Segal said.
On February 3rd, 2021 we wrote to the RTC over concern of a misleading infographic being circulated by Greenway. This was our letter.
Dear RTC Staff,
An infographic that includes false and misleading information concerning rail in Santa Cruz County has been circulated among our community and to the RTC Commissioners. We are all aware of the great dangers that fake news and false equivalencies can do in a democratic society. We urge the RTC Staff to address these false claims publicly, especially for the benefit of the commissioners, who will be responsible for voting tomorrow. We have addressed some of these falsehoods below that are easily verifiable based on the RTC’s current studies, however we urge the professional RTC staff to clearly address this false information to prevent the community being misled by unverified sources and individuals.
1) $242/month as the cost is FALSE – the price of an all-access transit pass has not been established and will likely not exceed $150 as evidenced by the fact that METRO currently offers an Amtrak/Hwy17 Express monthly pass for $145 which includes unlimited use of both METRO and Santa Clara County’s VTA systems. https://www.scmtd.com/en/fares/fares Even the much larger VTA offers an all access transit pass to their entire light rail and bus system for only $180/month.
2) Trail-only completed in five years is FALSE – pursuing a trail-only idea would delay the construction of ANY trail for at least 8 years as evidenced by RTC staff report titled “Options for use of the rail corridor” presented at the December 8, 2016 public meeting of the RTC. RTC Agenda
3) Stating that children will be at risk is FALSE – this is an utterly baseless and dangerous claim; in fact, as supported by the RTC’s own studies, adding rail transit will reduce injury accidents throughout our community. This safety information is contained in the performance metrics in the 2019 Unified Corridor Investment Study indicating that the Rail with Trail Scenario B will result in 118 fewer accidents per year than the Trail Only Scenario A all while saving us more than $26M per year. Final UCS
When one or more claims are plainly false, the entire package must be rejected and the source should be called into question moving forward. Friends of the Rail and Trail trusts that the commissioners will rely on their staff and consultants for facts and reject the deceptive infographic and related content submitted by Greenway’s Mr. Colligan.
FORT has faith that the commissioners will trust the science and facts behind the current TCAA study outcome, which was carefully prepared by a project team consisting of RTC and METRO staff capably supported by a team of nationally recognized professional consultants and with the full participation of the entire community in a transparent public process.
In 2016, the RTC reviewed and rejected the error-filled and misleading “2016 Great Santa Cruz Trail” document submitted by Mr. Colligan, before The Great Santa Cruz Trail Group changed their name to the more politically advantageous “SCC Greenway.” These new and similarly-misleading materials should be handled in the same way. When false information is inserted into our governmental processes we are all responsible for calling it out and refuting it.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our County.
Board Chair, Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail & Trail
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Friends of the Rail & Trail is a grassroots transportation advocacy organization.