Saturday, February 21, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Pines Country Club
3062 Point Marion Rd
Morgantown, WV 26505
Guest Speaker: Andrew Wilkow Conservative talk show host Sirius Radio
Post Office Box 2369
Westover, WV 26502
Friday, February 20, 2009
As a longtime member and current secretary of the U.S. 50 Association, I am usually focused on state issues that have a detrimental effect on our highway system, and on Route 50 in particular. But all too often it is legislation at the federal level that has unintended negative effects on our road system. One such initiative currently in the works is legislation that would roll back the Staggers Act of 1980, named for Congressman Harley Staggers of Keyser, and reregulate our nation’s rail systems.
But another, often overlooked, benefit of our rail system is the service it provides in keeping our highways and roads from being even more congested with truck traffic than they already are. If the Staggers Act is repealed or seriously rolled back – as legislation in the last Congress would have done – our roads would be even more congested and damaged by shippers using semi trucks to an even greater degree than they are used today.
As everyone traveling our highways knows, our roads and bridges are deteriorating quickly, and we can hardly meet the needs of pothole repair and general repaving and maintenance as it is. Legislation that would raise the cost of doing business with our railroads would only increase the damage to our roads.
It’s important to compare the efficiency of our railroads with the extra burden that would be placed on our highways if the Staggers Act was repealed. For example, one typical multi-car locomotive does the work of more than 280 semi trucks. It costs $1 million to $3 million per mile to add capacity to rail, as opposed to $10 million or more per mile to add a lane to urban highways.
As the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said in its Freight Bottom Line Report. "Relatively small public investments in the nation's freight railroads can be leveraged into relatively large benfits for the nation's highway infrastructure, highway users and freight shippers.
Furthermore, railroads are there times as energy efficient as trucks. A train can move a ton of freight 423 miles on one gallon of fuel, and are also three times cleaner. Since truck fatality rates are four times higher than train fatality rates, moving freight by rail will also save lives.
Since the Staggers Act was passed in 1980, the freight railway industry has seen drastic, quantifiable improvements, including a 168 percent increase in productivity, an 85 percent increase in rail traffic, and injury rates that have fallen by 68 percent.
For some reason, Sen. Jay Rockefeller has long been seen as an opponent of the railroad industry. But in this case, all
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The package of fees could hit homeowners and the ailing Virginia home-building industry alike, and follows measures proposed by Northern Virginia governments in similarly desperate financial straits.
Michael Toalson, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, called the proposal “government at its worst.” As builders endure rounds of layoffs from the shrinking volume of work amid the housing downturn, zoning staff should follow suit, he said.