Re: your May 17 article, â€śPublic agencies also feeling sting of soaring fuel pricesâ€?:
The article mentions the effect rising fuel prices have had on municipal budgets throughout Ventura County. As a member of the Moorpark City Council and vice chairman of the board of directors of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, the operator of Metrolink commuter train service, I have witnessed these effects from two different angles.
Metrolink operates more than 140 trains every weekday that consume several million gallons of a special blend of clean-burning, low-sulfur diesel fuel every year. Between 2005 and 2006, the cost of this fuel increased more than 18 percent and led to an increase of fuel costs of nearly $2 million. Many do not realize that while gasoline prices have increased an average of 20 percent per year since 2002, diesel fuel prices have increased an average of more than 30 percent over the same period. Yet, by carrying so many passengers per mile, even with this fuel price increase, Metrolink has been able to keep increases in fares to an average of less than 4 percent per year since 2002. As an added benefit, the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into Southern California is significantly reduced because commuters are riding trains powered by low-sulfur fuel instead of driving their automobiles.
As you are traveling, count the number of cars with three occupants. These are the folks who are making a difference. Metrolink riders are doing their part every weekday to reduce traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
But there are other benefits beyond the fact that commuting by train is better for our environment: It's also less expensive and more relaxing than driving. I encourage everyone to consider Metrolink to meet his or her commuting needs.
â€” Keith F. Millhouse, Moorpark