But the highway mentality and misunderstanding of investments for people versus cars are still out there.
Jeanne Whitworth, wearing a dark blue jacket and skirt, settles into a Sprinter car at the Oceanside Transit Center, awaiting the four-stop ride to Rancho del Oro, where she lives. Whitworth, who works in downtown San Diego, commutes weekdays on both the Sprinter and the Coaster, a conventional Amtrak-style train, which intersect at Oceanside.
The two trains take an hour and a half. Whitworth, 42, could be home 15 minutes earlier if she drove there from Oceanside. "But I don't have to fight the traffic," she says, and she's saving a tank of gas every month. "It's like getting a raise."
Cooke, a retired Marine Corps major-general, contends that $500 million would have been better spent adding two more lanes to six-lane Highway 78. He's also critical of the train's taxpayer subsidy, saying that everyone riding the Sprinter "is getting a free ticket to some degree."