Thursday, January 24, 2013

SB 819: Will Tourist Train Kill Local Businesses?

Virginia Senate Bill 819 looks so innocent. All it says it will do is give some people the right--well, and part of the money--to operate a cute little choo-choo train for tourists in southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia:

People in the jurisdictions affected say that it will, "among other things, destroy what's left of the coal industry." Homeowners would have to get permission to plant or cut down a tree; supposedly the "planning" necessary to operate this train would require everything within sight of the train to fit into the image the planners want to market. Remember why "I Shouldn't Be Planning Scott County"?

Too bad this one wasn't planned as a private, for-profit train that might have connected with Washington and/or Harpers Ferry, run on an historic track, and invited--not tried to force--local property owners to cash in on the train by offering the sort of music, crafts, food, and history The Crooked Road is supposed to be marketing, for their own profit, in their own venues. If the planners of the tourist train hadn't become greedy for power they might have been able to make this a good profitable venture everyone could have liked.

All I know is that "public-private partnership" projects tend to be or become boondoggles, and attempts to "plan" other people's homes and lives for them are evil.

Attention all Tea Parties who've been e-mailing in opposition to this bill: State Senator Bill Carrico has tallied our opposition and plans not to support SB 819.