Thursday, December 01, 2005

How Many Homes Will Be Destroyed In Order To Move CSX?

I keep reading where the new urbanist want to move the CSX railroad to some vague area North of the interstate. Exactly where are they planning to move the railroad? How many homes will be destroyed to make room for the railroad? How many rural communities will be changed for the worse in order to implement their plan? And how much tax money will be spent on the move?

Some things to consider before CSX is removed from the cities;
*Homes North of the Interstate were not destroyed by the storm surge. Destroying them now, in order to make way for the railroad would not only be cruel; it would create even more homeless people, at a time when we can ill afford them.

*The railroad tracks are on property not owned by CSX but exist by a prescriptive easement. This means if there is any attempt to cease the use of these tracks by the railroad the land will be returned to the heirs of this property. Either by direct purchase or even eminent domain, this would be an absolute legal nightmare involving hundreds of heirs of former property owners, it would be years before the land could be used for anything.

*The cost of moving the railroad, as estimated by the consulting firm of DMJM Harris of New Orleans, hired by Wayne Brown and MDOT, would be between $1.9 Billion and $2.9 Billion. That amount of money could rebuild every school, every bridge and most of the infrastructure on the entire Coast.

*The railroad tracks are not isolated to the state of Mississippi but are connected to the rail system coming from Alabama and Louisiana. Are these states going to move their tracks at the same time? If they don't we will be making a big, extremely expensive loop to accommodate a few peoples vision of what the coast should look like?

Now to address the new urbanist plans for the cities. On paper they sound and look nice but how practical are they?

How many of you are going to walk anywhere in the heat and humidity of summer? How many of you are going to be willing to walk in the wind, rain and chill of winter? How many tourist do you think are going to be willing to brave the elements and walk around? No matter how scenic the route if people are uncomfortable because of the weather they are not going to walk.

How many of you are going to be willing to live above offices and retail establishments? How many of you are going to be willing to live in homes without yards and share green spaces with every Tom, Dick and Harry?

As for turning Highway 90 into a scenic Beach Boulevard. How are the customers suppose to get to casinos, restaurants and retail establishments along Highway 90? Not everyone will be willing to take public transportation (assuming we have any). Wayne Brown and MDOT are right to plan for traffic. If you do not want traffic on Highway 90 then you will have to move the casinos, restaurants and retail establishments that people flock to to another location.