Silence in Consent
Silence in Consent

Letters From Citizens

Here's what people are sharing with Families Under The Rail. Please share yours on the Contact Us page.

Dear FUTR,


Just letting you know I sent the following comments to the website today and a copy Bucky Stanley, As I told Mr. Stanley, even though the meeting left most questions unanswered, it served to bring affected individuals together and demonstrated to county, state and federal representatives just how concerned Hanover County residents are about issues surrounding this matter and the previous poor communication pertaining to such. I was not aware of the "minor improvements option" until this meeting, and this option coupled with comments from individuals at the meeting make the most sense of anything I have seen about this project to date. Thanks for all your work.


I attended the public meeting on High Speed Rail held at Patrick Henry High School on April 4th and from the attendance alone it should be apparent how much impact just the preliminary planning for only the potential for high speed rail is having on so many people's lives. Is it truly being considered how disruptive this can be to the economic as well as physical and mental well being of individuals directly and indirectly affected by just the planning aspect of such a project? Aside from further recognizing the many different impacts this project is having on individuals, to me two speakers made really good points about the project in general:

•       The first was the gentleman who asked why you are going through this disruptive planning stage without knowing whether such a project will even receive the necessary funding. We are already dealing with enormous debt, and the current political climate seems for once to be calling for much more conservative spending. Why have the planners not fully investigated the "minor improvements option" before even suggesting that there may be a need for any other option? This way you would be considering the most cost effective approach without disrupting the lives of individuals unless it would be determined that this option is totally unworkable. This would have avoided the mental anguish caused by these various proposals when they may not even be needed. With questions that can only be answered by responses such as " we won't  know until the study is completed", and even then you really won't  know until the study is approved, and still won't know until funds are approved and actually appropriated. Who really knows just how long all this will take, while you leave people in a state of uncertainty, frustration and worry. The real estate agent that spoke made this even more apparent stating that she is unable to get builders to commit to projects even now for fear that their new construction can't be sold.  And for the "indirectly affected", individuals that need to sell homes  that are near possible bypass routes, they are in a position that no one heading any phase of this project would ever want to be in. And how long will they have to be in this "indirectly affected" state? ("Indirectly affected" is such a poor term used to describe these people as they too are directly affected). If the "minor improvements option" had simply been studied before any other option was even proposed, perhaps none of this disruption would have had to occur.

•       The second was the retired CSX freight engineer who used to bring freight trains through Ashland. He explained, quite satisfactorily, why we may see trains traveling up to 65 mph at crossings around Ashland, and he made perfect sense. He made even more sense when he suggested that the issue of potentially needing bypass routes around Ashland and Fredericksburg could be remedied by simply holding up freight traffic outside of Ashland and Fredericksburg when the high speed trains would be passing through, since there would be third rails outside of the two areas to accommodate this. While it might not be as simple as he made it sound, often governments and large corporations seem to leave the thinking and planning of how to resolve issues up to high ranking administrative personnel  without bringing the line workers into discussions of these issues as these workers are often the most knowledgeable of how things actually work. Could this be the case with the engineer offering the recommendation that he made? It sure seemed to have some merit to me and others at the meeting.
Somehow individuals responsible for planning such sweeping changes need to be more sensitive as to just how much the lives of everyday hard working individuals and whole families would be impacted before they begin to just think about the even the first step in the planning of such a project.
Hopefully, for all involved, both of the comments that I am referring to and my accompanying concerns can help to bring  this high speed rail issue to a quick resolution without continuing to disrupt lives and at the same time help in eliminating unnecessary government spending. The "minor improvements option" sure makes the most sense to me.

Thank you for considering my concerns.
J. Thomson
Ashland, VA 

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