Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save I-81 Rail - Steel Interstate - Study

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703 Concord Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903-5208
(434) 984-4655 • (434) 984-2803 fax
www.virginia-organizing.org


Dear Friend,
We are sending this important message on behalf of RAIL Solution.

BULLETIN:

We are mobilizing a broad campaign (see "ACTION" immediately below) to urge Governor Tim Kaine to overrule his Secretary of Transportation. VDOT Secretary Pierce Homer is thwarting the will of the people of western and southwest Virginia and east Tennessee, where over 46 local government and regional planning body resolutions calling for a federal "Steel Interstate" rail pilot project along the I-81 corridor have been presented to members of Congress.

In April, RAIL Solution worked with Congressman Rick Boucher (VA-9) to draft a federal Steel Interstate study project for the I-81 corridor at Congressman Boucher's initiative. Unfortunately, last month the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Pierce Homer, refused to allow VDOT to accept a federal grant for the study even if Congress were to authorize one. Because VDOT refuses to support the project, Representatives Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) and Frank Wolf (VA-10) are now also withholding their own support. (New earmark transparency specifications for the omnibus Federal transportation reauthorization require support from state departments of transportation for rail transportation projects.)

ACTION needed:

Please contact Governor Kaine by telephone (804) 786-2211 or email him from his website:
www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor

Ask Governor Kaine to give the I-81 Corridor due opportunity:

· Honor his commitment to RAIL Solution, made in the Governor's office with RAIL Solution leaders August 30, 2006, and to overrule his Secretary of Transportation, who is openly defying the Governor's policy decision to maximize the potential for rail in the I-81 Corridor.

· Order Secretary Homer to notify Representatives Boucher, Goodlatte, and Wolf and Senators Webb and Warner, that VDOT will gladly accept responsibility for coordinating a federal grant to study the Steel Interstate in the I-81 Corridor as a pilot project for the National Steel Interstate System of railroads to speedily move passengers and freight using green energy instead of precious oil.

· Respect the good sense of 46 local governments and regional planning bodies which have voted support for this Congressional initiative since late January 2009. Rail is a cleaner, greener, faster, cheaper solution to our transportation problems while improving economic productivity. The entire country deserves the opportunity to see such a system in action.

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