A plan to preserve freight and passenger-rail service in California's Santa Cruz County is one of this year's newsworthy topics, writes Jason Hoppin. The county's Regional Transportation Commission spent $14.2 million to acquire the 31-mile Branch Rail Line. "There's definitely a lot of work. I know some people say 'Well, the project is finished. That's great,' " said Luiz Mendez, the RTC's top assistant. "It's really one phase of the project. Now we move on to the next phase."
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