Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chastain pounds the rail drums

Kansas City MO - Pro-rail advocate, Clay Chastain, is pounding the drums again to get his rail plan in place in Kansas City. For some strange reason, Chastain seems oblivious to the fact that Kansas City can't just jump ahead of the waiting list for Federal money to build his precious rail line.

Chastain, a Bedford Virginia resident, seems intent on trying to saddle Kansas City Missouri residents with a light rail plan that the city just can't afford. He loves to claim the voters overwhelmingly want his plan when, based on numerous articles and letters to the editor by residents, that really isn't the case.

The truth of the matter is that many Kansas City voters were simply confused, overwhelmed and completely uninformed of what they were voting for. Of the various comments I've seen in KC newspapers and radio/TV sites as well as comments sent to me, many people thought they were voting for KC to look into a rail plan for the future. They were largely unaware that what they were voting for was to implement Chastain's personal legacy rail line immediately.

That really is the voter's fault and they deserve what they get however, the ballot question was reported to also be rather confusing and misleading. That doesn't really surprise me but the voters still should have informed themselves and it was easy to do with all the coverage on the rail proposal.

Chastain's comments in the linked article also give me further proof that this is all about his personal legacy rather than the good of the city. Of the item's listed, "My light rail plan" comes above anything else. He really wants his name on a brass plaque along the line for posterity.

While Chastain does mention that there needs to be a bus funding plan, it falls much further down on his list. Even with his proposed eighth-cent sales tax to cover bus operations, that money will be siphoned off to pay to operate his rail line, complete with gondola ride which in other news stories he insists must be included or he'll sue the city.

Chastain refuses to look at the whole picture. He's so desperate to get his rail plan built that he really doesn't care if he turns the city into a ghost town. Federal money will not be coming to build it as the Feds have already made clear that KC can't jump to the head of the funding line. I doubt the State will rush to pay for it. That means KC residents will have to pick up the entire tab for Chastain's Folly one way or another. By building it or paying to cover the city costs to defend against Chastain's threatened law suits to force the line to be built. Just imagine the sky high taxes and the rush to move to greener pastures where taxes are lower.

Clay, here's a Lance for your "Damn the costs when my legacy is at stake" attitude. You've earned it.

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