Can passenger rail return to Roanoke?
By Jeff Sturgeon, The Roanoke Times
State transportation officials are drafting the latest proposal to restart passenger rail service in and out of Roanoke, which ended almost 30 years ago.
Although it looks to one lawmaker as cost prohibitive just now, restarting is likely to get strong public backing at an open meeting Thursday called by the state Department of Rail and Public Transportation to discuss a wish list of improvements in statewide rail transit.
To get it going once again, $206 million for trains, track work and related capital costs must be found. (link)
$206 million. Money that we're told we don't have.
Now we have a transportation crisis.
And don't give me that $4 gas argument. Until it reaches $20 a gallon, a train from Roanoke to Richmond will never support itself in ticket sales. Never. Subsidies to keep the train running will have to come out of the same budget that lawmakers are battling over today, trying to find common ground on solving our current real and perceived transportation woes. Until, that is, the train route is shut down again.
What are these people thinking? Sometimes they frighten me.