September 13, 2012

My high speed rail guest editorial in Illinois Times

My guest editorial in Illinois Times will surely annoy some of my friends and many of Springfield's local leaders. But, I'm not convinced that the 30-year old ideas about where to locate mass transit are the most well thought out. The way Springfield residents have been propagandized on the rail issue is offensive.

The businesses which might be most inconvenienced by an expanded Third Street corridor facility are a luxury car dealership and the private Sangamo Club. I suppose their clientele have more clout than citizens who use social services near 10th. That those most in need in our community are also the most likely to have services dislocated by rail consolidation is a serious social and environmental justice problem. 
Springfield could have spent the past two years discussing the least painful way to accommodate freight traffic resulting from the new Joliet rail terminal. Instead, we have been presented a worst-case scenario with exaggerated postcard images and a steady drumbeat of hyperbole. We have been told a multimodal transit center would bring economic development to 10th Street, but mysteriously, the same facility would bring economic ruin on Third. It’s past time to have a calm discussion about passenger rail without the scare campaign.

Find the rest here.