Message from the Executive Director
A year such as 2006 doesn’t just happen. I didn’t make it happen. The officers and Steering Committee didn’t make it happen. You the members and participants in RAIL Solution made it happen! Without our more than 1300 citizen volunteers, these achievements would never have been possible. Each of you contributed in your own way – calling, writing, organizing, working at events, helping with your donations of time and money.
Skeptics said STAR could not be stopped. Indeed, their enormous power and corporate wealth, together with state and federal political support and the clout of the highway engineering construction lobby, were formidable. Skeptics said we would never get anyone to consider rail seriously in the I-81 Corridor. Skeptics told us time and time again, if rail was relevant Norfolk Southern would be doing something and we’d never be able to persuade NS to get involved. Skeptics said we’d never get a bill through the General Assembly, much less with unanimous approval by both houses. Skeptics said we’d never be able to stop VDOT’s endorsement of the flawed DEIS by the CTB. Yet with your firm commitment and solid support, RAIL Solution has done these things. Some skeptics still don’t believe it. They seek to demean our accomplishments by saying these things would have happened anyway, without us.
Don’t believe it. Our accomplishments are real. And you have every right to be proud of what RAIL Solution has done. But danger still lurks. We cannot relax. STAR could come back. The rail study could be compromised or rejected. At VDOT traditional, highway-centric thinking still dominates as does the suspicion of and aversion to rail alternatives. But we do have a genuine opportunity to do things smarter in Virginia and to pioneer new, balanced transportation thinking and planning, with huge potential savings both economically and environmentally.
We have to keep up the fight. Your continued financial support is vital. I know we haven’t been good about writing personal letters to thank each of you. I really we wish we could. I set that as a goal when I became Executive Director in January, but there simply wasn’t time. The mission was too critical. Still many of you have sent in checks over and over again, often without even being asked. I hope you will continue to see that your funds have been well spent and real accomplishments made and that, for now at least, will be adequate reward. Please, when considering your year-end donations, continue to support RAIL Solution so we can finish the job.
- Dave Foster, Executive Director of RAIL Solution