Officials face more hoops in pursuit of transport hub
Trains pass through Brookhaven every day, but citizens have beenwaiting years for a new transportation facility where the “ironhorses” could stop.
For more than seven years now, city officials have pursued theproject – first proposed by former Mayor Bill Godbold – from itsgrandiose beginnings to a much scaled-back version that is beingconsidered now.
Throughout that time, from funding to use to building-relatedissues, there seemingly has been one headache after another. LastApril, in discussing efforts to find a required project partner forthe city, Mayor Bob Massengill said the project had been the mosttime- and energy-consuming one that he had dealt with in his brieftime as mayor.
The latest “spur” on the track to construction involves a dockheight feud over a mere 7 inches. Canadian National officials wantan 8-inch height while federal and Amtrak officials want a 15-inchheight.
Resolution of the latest issue is somewhat out of the city’shands. Officials are researching what compromises have been made inother places with similar problems.
If a compromise cannot be found, Massengill said hisrecommendation would be to discontinue pursuit of the project.
Originally, we were resistant to the multi-modal facility ideabecause city officials at the time were not forthcoming indetailing their plans for the project. We’ve been more supportiveafter a change in administration and more information has been madeavailable regarding project progress.
That progress, though, has been woefully slow.
Renovation of a historic building, the old power plant facility,remains one of the more attractive aspects of the project. And justabout anything would be a welcome alternative to the currentwaiting area for Amtrak passengers.
City leaders have been diligent and jumped through every hoopand to make this project a reality. Unfortunately a dispute betweenothers has the entire project in jeopardy.
A second issue lies with federal funding allocated for theproject in the first place. Approximately $1 million must bereturned if the facility is never completed or is built and notused for its original stated purpose.