Install light rail while the land is available

Writer recommends Langleys' mayors take a trip to Portland to see that City's MAX system in action

Editor: Re: Going it alone on transit unlikely: mayors (The Times, July 17). This is an open letter to the mayors.

Guys, this isn’t rocket science. If your dream of a great concrete thing up in the air is too costly, then go for what you can afford — a slick light rail system, on the ground.

My best advice is do it quick while there is still some land available for right-of-way and park-and-ride areas.

There are lots of benefits. Stations don’t cost  $15 million to build — probably less than $2 million — so you can have a lot more of them.

This gets away from the ghetto effect, residential hubs around stations.

The cash flow problems you are facing have been endured by every city and municipality in the world. Except for a very few, all have gone for what they could afford and what made sense — a light rapid system on the ground.

You guys should take a couple of days off, go down to Portland, Ore., and ride the rails on the MAX. It’s fast, clean, quiet and very comfortable. But for a few bridges over the freeway, it’s all on the ground.

Then go talk to the guys who run the thing and ask them how they make a profit. They are really proud of their system and will give you all the tricks.

What do you have to lose?

When you come back, tell us what you think about light rail for the Valley

John Winter,