FORT Partnership


The Rail Trail & Rail Options: How it connects to the Measure

The Coastal Rail Trail is one project that will benefit greatly from the TRIP Measure. The trail will connect Watsonville, Aptos, Capitola, and Santa Cruz with a car-free, direct and paved biking and walking path. Friends of the Rail & Trail (FORT) has been working for some 15 years to support completion of this trail that will improve the lives of the residents of Santa Cruz County. FORT endorses the RTC’s proposed ballot measure which would fund a variety of transportation projects and be the single largest source of funding for the Rail Trail and preserve rail transit options.

The 30-year 1/2 cent sales tax would provide $85 million for Rail Trail construction and maintenance. This would allow for a majority of the trail to be built thereby greatly expanding safe, convenient, and direct biking and walking in Santa Cruz County! With 44 schools within 1 mile of the proposed rail corridor, the Rail Trail will provide safe routes for children to bike and walk to school.

The sales tax would also provide some $40 million for rail corridor preservation and maintenance. It would not pay for a passenger trail but allow the RTC to conduct a comprehensive analysis of rail transit options. This analysis would thoroughly study and examine such issues as ridership numbers; capital and operating costs; and green, clean, quiet and neighborhood-compatible technology options to determine the best use of this important asset to improve mobility for everyone.

The sales tax will be a major step in completing the trail quickly.

Take a look at this Fact Sheet for more benefits of this important funding tax measure.

What is FORT?

The Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail & Trail (FORT) is a community-based organization that has been working for over 15 years to support the construction of the 32-mile rail trail from Watsonville to Davenport, and explore rail transit options. FORT raised over $53,000 of private donations to help fund the City of Santa Cruz Westside and Watsonville Rail Trail sections.

FORT is the community group that is working for the highest and best use of the rail corridor that will result in a high quality experience for everyone using the trail and potential rail transit, as well as corridor neighbors.

FORT is fiscally sponsored by Ecology Action, a locally based environmental non-profit since 1970.

The rail trail supports the efforts of, and complements, Ecology Action’s bike and walk work by giving Santa Cruz County kids, commuters, families, seniors and visitors a safe, car-free, and scenic paved path along the Santa Cruz County coast. Click here for more information.

FORT and Ecology Action are leading the community effort to support the TRIP Measure and get everyone moving. We see the Rail Trail as a transformative asset for our community and the TRIP Measure is an opportunity for Santa Cruz County residents to improve our community by voting for the November ballot measure.