VDOT Resumes Efforts to Widen
I-81 to 8 Lanes
An environmental assessment has begun on a 2000-ft. wide corridor along I-81 between Exit 118 at Christiansburg and Exit 143 at I-581 in Roanoke. Rail Solution submitted detailed comments claiming the widening is not needed because traffic growth is flat and far below VDOT's projections, which were based on the period 1978-2003 before rapid rises in fuel prices, chronic truck driver shortages, and significant diversion of truck freight to rail. Rail Solution urged VDOT to reassess widening need based on current traffic counts before committing to disruptive and costly construction. A one-page summary of the comments is also posted.
Rail Solution Comments on Virginia Governor McDonnell's Transportation Funding Plan
It's good to see transportation being seriously addressed, and McDonnell's package contains dedicated funding for passenger rail in Virginia. But use of sales taxes in place of gasoline taxes as the main revenue source has drawbacks. Read the statement Rail Solution issued to members, on Facebook, and to the press here.
Participants Share Dreams for Freight and Passenger Rail
Several dozen people attending the Rail Solution Annual Meeting on Dec. 1 in Abingdon, VA were asked to say what they would tell elected officials if the meeting were a public hearing. The flipchart pages show clearly that the public "gets it" more than public officials often do. Their thoughts show clearly how important good railroad service can be for mobility of both passengers and freight, as well as being beneficial to the environment.
DailyKos Promotes Steel Interstate Concept (again!)
Bruce McF, writing in his column Sunday Train, has been a helpful and consistent backer of the Steel Interstate that Rail Solution is hard at work promoting. To see his latest installment from 9/2: click here. The story is also cross-posted on Voices on the Square: click here. Rail Solution appreciates the visibility the blog posts add to the Steel Interstate.
Sierra Club Chapters in VA and TN Pass Resolutions in Support of Steel Interstate Prototype Demonstration
RAIL Solution’s proposed Steel Interstate Prototype project for the I-81/I-40 Corridor dovetails very well with Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign. Domestically generated electricity would power this mainline rail corridor in lieu of oil, helping to reduce U.S. oil dependency.
Now both the Virginia Chapter and Tennessee Chapter of Sierra Club have passed resolutions endorsing the Steel Interstate demonstration project, and an Activists Network website has been established to promote further work together on the Steel Interstate here. Copies of the two resolutions can be found by clicking Files at the top of the Steel Interstate text panel.
The leaders of this Sierra Club effort are seeking endorsements from Chapters in the region served by the Prototype, and general endorsement of the Steel Interstate concept by all Sierra Club chapters.
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