Michael King, in “The Reading Railroad
” [News, May 10], while making valuable points, seems to state that finding an initial route for urban rail is a problem easily solved after finding/deciding financing. This line of thinking is truly putting the cart before the horse, and the antithesis of good, intelligent, effective rail planning. Deciding, as a community, where the next rail route runs, what neighborhoods it serves, what transportation/commuting problems it addresses, and how it fits into an overall regional comprehensive system has to be accomplished before being concerned with financing it, important as that is. The public support of any funding mechanism for the next major investment in passenger rail isn’t going to materialize if the public isn't sold on the route. And there is a small group of citizens/rail advocates really causing official rail planners (at the city of Austin, Capital Metro, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) to justify a rail route from Downtown to the Mueller neighborhood that is unjustifiable, in terms of what is the best next “major public investment in the future of Austin” (to quote King). And the local press, including the Chronicle
, needs to start covering this as yet unreported story.