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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.