The League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County shares the concerns of many in our community regarding the Phillips 66 rail spur project and the risks to public safety that it entails. Increased activity resulting from this project will expose hundreds of thousands of people and large areas of environmental sensitivity to increased risk of accident and damage.
Locally, the main rail line through San Luis Obispo County is one of the windiest and steepest in the state, with trestles and bridges in serious need of upgrading. Schools, hospitals and homes along the rail line in cities throughout our county would be at risk.
The serious safety issues raised by this project require that the county’s planning commission and board of supervisors insist upon full and enforceable mitigation of these risks before approving the project. We say “enforceable” because it is unclear that county authorities can require structural studies of and upgrades to infrastructure or enforce speed limits on trains coming through our county.
If county officials cannot enforce mitigation of the dangers this project presents to our communities, they should not approve the project. To do so would be to risk real harm to all of us.