Want the rail? Hate the rail? Make it official (Hanover Public Meeting)

March 23, 2016

Source: Herald-Progress, Ashland

In a little under two weeks Hanover County will hold a public meeting about the proposed D.C. to RVA rail.

The rail project — which is headed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) — has acquired quite the amount of public comment and feedback. And so it should.

In a situation where anyone finds their home is at risk, it is almost a guarantee that the owner of the home will become defensive of it (and the surrounding land). This isn’t exclusive to human nature — its an almost instinctive part of existence that can be seen in a range of species around the world. It seems that if you threaten somebody’s home, you are by association threatening them.

The last time the Herald-Progress ran a story on the high-speed rail, a representative from the DRPT (Emily Stock) informed us that the proposed high-speed rail remained exactly that — proposed. During that interview, Stock emphasized to the H-P’s correspondent that “[DRPT] take the public’s voice seriously and the comments that come in will be incorporated into the final draft.”

While it may be difficult to even fathom the thought of a family home being wiped out by a rail line, I do think it is important to consider the fact that the DRPT have stated that public opinion will be factored into the analysis. That means that your opinions on the rail — whether they be for or against it — should be officially made.

Public forums such as Facebook and Twitter are great drivers of public dialogue and discourse, unfortunately however the comments made on them are not considered “official comment.” Those interested in making their opinion heard should do so by posting directly onto the DC2RVA rail website and make an effort to attend Hanover County’s public meeting in order to remain informed on the status of the proposal.

Whether you want the rail, hate the rail or have a particular view in mind for the rail you should ensure that your view is aired officially.