My Word: Building on our rural creative class economy a better bet

From the Times-Standard:

“…[I]f Caltrans’ Richardson Grove Highway 101 and the Del Norte Highway 199/197 road “widening” Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) oversize truck access projects are not cancelled, the international freight “port with rail” dreamers will continue to be a drain on public resources that could be better utilized elsewhere….

Supporters of an international port with rail and oversize STAA trucking have for too long followed a locally unsuitable economic model that holds that industrial port development must be the primary economic driver for creating jobs and generating income for recreation and conservation improvements. The empirical evidence certainly does not support that model….

The Times-Standard reported that Humboldt was ranked second best county in the U.S. by the “natural amenities index.” (“Second best county in US,” Aug. 19, Page A3.) When two paths diverge in the woods, you can’t take both. Let’s direct transportation resources to enhance development of our rural creative class economy, not through-route access for oversize trucks in a futile pursuit of unsustainable goals.”

Read the full op-ed.

State Senators Visit Humboldt Port

Instead of widening and straightening our roads for oversized trucks, investing in responsible marine transportation could be an economically and environmentally superior way to move freight in and out of the North Coast.  From the Times-Standard:

“State Sen. Mike McGuire underlined the importance of Humboldt Bay to the local economy on Friday, as he shared some of Humboldt County’s marine-based economy with legislative leaders on the issue of the state’s ports….

Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioners Richard Marks and Mike Wilson said they were grateful for the opportunity to meet face-to-face with legislators that have sway in the area of ports….With the expansion of the oyster industry — the only exporter of oyster spat (baby oysters) — and the repurposing of the pulp mill in Samoa, Marks underlined the bay’s importance.

“We are the economic driver of Humboldt County,” he said.

Wilson said Humboldt Bay embodies more than just diversification.

“It’s about sustainability,” he said….”

Read the full article.