$350,000 Wasted on Passenger Rail Study

by Lewis Loflin

The Bristol Train Station was a worthless project costing taxpayers $6 million and ten years to renovate. Finished in 2008, it has produced nothing of value in either jobs or economic development. They have been lobbying for years to get AMTRAK to come to Bristol, itself a massive waste of tax dollars.

In 2016 the Appalachian Regional (pork and waste) Commission has awarded another $100,000 to be combined with $250,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, the gold standard in government waste, for a "viability" study to bring trains to Bristol. To quote the local press April 17, 2016:

A new $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission nearly completes the funding needed for the city's passenger rail viability study. The grant was one of 13 totaling $3.3 million that Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday. It will be combined with a $250,000 grant received last year from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to help fund a study about bringing Amtrak rail service from Roanoke to Bristol and possibly linking to cities in Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky, according to Assistant City Manager Andrew Trivette.

You mean they never did a viability study BEFORE they spent $6 million on the old train station? They did this study before and it went nowhere. This is why Bristol and Southwest Virginia have the lowest incomes and ranks at the bottom of nearly economic statistic in Virginia and Tennessee. Nearly a billion dollars in various infrastructure and economic development projects has seen the region hemorrhage population with government transfer payments forming over 50% of the region's economy.