In his letter of Dec. 16, Dan Sullivan states that what we need to do is view all Amtrak layover facility sites objectively, elevate all stakeholders to equal status and end the “political theater.” Good news on the first count: all sites have already been analyzed objectively. We know Brunswick West is the clear winner – except on one count: Brunswick West, on land zoned and historically used for railroad operations, is near Mr. Sullivan’s property.
Regarding the pre-emptive hysteria evident in his claim that the facility will produce “horrendous” levels of pollution, I beg to remind Mr. Sullivan that the subject of analysis is inside a closed shed overnight with the engines turned off, idling briefly outside during the middle of the day, not 10,000-ton coal trains grinding uphill 24/7.
Making all stakeholders equal at the table is a nutty idea. Most of us know nothing about dams, bridges, highways, rail facilities and air fields. That’s why we use experts. Letting “stakeholders,” a vague term, decide is a foolish way to shoot up the cost and pick a site based on political power, and not operational efficiency. Pick another site and Amtrak fails, it’s that simple.
Finally, the only people who create, applaud and advance the “political theater” on this issue are Mr. Sullivan and his NIMBY coalition neighbors. Why? Because when the sites are evaluated objectively, as they have been, there’s only one viable site – and it’s a good one: Brunswick West, two short blocks from my own home.