Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

City wants to buy depot

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Lawrence City Commission expressed an interest in purchasing the BNSF train depot in east Lawrence. While the price is right, $1, there is a catch - the city would become responsible for ongoing maintenance and any upgrades the facility needs.

June 25, 2008

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For a dollar, a majority of city commissioners are definitely interested in buying the deteriorating 1950s-era Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot.

Commissioners on Tuesday took the first step toward negotiating a low-cost purchase of the east Lawrence depot from the railroad, despite concerns that a tight city budget would make it difficult to undertake what is expected to be a several hundred thousand dollar renovation of the building.

"I think it would be a shortsighted view to say we can't do this right now," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "Well, we're not going to get it done by the weekend, but we can get on the path to get it done."

Commissioners on a 4-1 vote directed staff to begin discussions with the railroad, which has expressed an interest in selling the depot to the city for $1. Commissioner Rob Chestnut was the lone commissioner to vote against the issue.

Chestnut said he was concerned that taking over ownership of the depot would amount to an implicit commitment by the city to restore the building, which sits at the corner of Seventh and New Jersey streets. He said he was disappointed the railroad hadn't taken better care of the building.

Staff members said repairs and renovation could be expensive. A preliminary analysis estimated it could cost about $400,000 to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and upward of $100,000 for several repairs such as fixing a leaky roof. It is also estimated to cost the city about $60,000 a year for routine maintenance and operational costs.

"I would love to restore another depot," said City Manager David Corliss, who was part of a team that restored the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence in the 1990s. "But it is that 'wants versus wallets' issue that is going to keep coming back to us."

Commissioners, though, received about an hour's worth of public comment urging them to take action on the building. A small community group - dubbed Depot Redux - has formed to build support for the project. Leaders of the group said reasons to proceed are numerous: Rail travel is better for the environment; the 1956 building is a good example of post-World War II architecture; and the city could benefit economically from having an attractive depot just three blocks from downtown.

"There are people from all over the state, all over the country who walk through those doors," said Marty Kennedy, a former city commissioner who serves as the volunteer who unlocks the station prior to the 5:50 a.m. arrival of the morning train. "This is the first impression they have of Lawrence."

About 3,700 customers a year use the Lawrence depot, Amtrak officials said. Currently the westbound Southwest Chief stops after midnight and the eastbound Southwest Chief a few hours later. But that number could increase to about 14,000 if a proposal to add new rail service between Kansas City and Oklahoma City materializes.

Comments

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

It was reported recently that when faced with a $4 million budget shortfall, the City of Olathe cut 21 jobs. In Lawrence, we have dire infrastructure needs but, as always, a tiny group of people with a pet project comes before the City Commission and 4 out of 5 commissioners agree to undertake something else that we can't afford and which has all the indicia of a bottomless pit. Why have our elected officials in Lawrence become such profligate spenders over the last 25 years or so? Sure, Lawrence has grown, but is there anywhere in this region that has grown like Olathe? Two very different approaches: Real world versus dream world, and respect for the taxpaying public versus spend first and tax later. Hats off to Rob Chestnut and David Corliss, and remedial math courses for the others.

curiosityandthecat 7 years ago

Although it may not appear to make sense economically, a rail line between Kansas City and Lawrence will be necessity in the future, and the commissioners are progressive enough (on this issue) to have that foresight.

50YearResident 7 years ago

Bozo says: Owning and renovating a passenger depot does little or nothing for a freight railway. Doing so could provide many benefits for the citizens of Lawrence.Hence, the change of ownership.Ahh, What is the benefit????The trains will stop anyway, even if ownership remains the same. They won't move the rails.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"If the railway was making money off the depot, they wouldn't be selling it for a dollar."They are a freight-only railway. Of course they don't make money from the depot.

KCKANSAN 7 years ago

Some comments and information:"Staff members say renovations and repairs could be expensive". Does this mandate that the city bear the entire cost? Is the cost estimate an exaggeration?. Left unsaid is a FAIR AND BALANCED consideration of the opportunity being presented to Lawrence. First, consider the other estimated cost: $60k in annual maintenance. Anyone wanna bet money that BNSF has been spending $60,000 a year on this building for the last 30 years? Second: There is federal and state renovation money available to offset most of the costs, BUT only if the City owns the building. BNSF isn't eligible so this property will continue to languish. Federal and state funds are available from the Kansas Transportation Enhancement Act, and the Federal Passenger Rail Improvement and Reform Act. There is new federal legislation that will pay for up to 80% of costs for siding, signal, and station improvements. Third: The building is fundamentally in solid condition and the improvement requirements are cosmetic except for the roof leak. No one is really considering restoring this building as a renovated (don't touch!) museum piece. What is desired is a general facelift for the building and the parking area. Other communities, a lot less affluent than Lawrence, are doing this right now: Strong City secured KTEA grant last summer, Sedalia began work on their station in May. Does Lawrence have an inferiority issue believe it can't pull off a rather simple project? A single right turn lane in Olathe is going to cost $435,000 (contract just awarded). For that money Lawrence can have a renovated station.The "ADA compliance" issue is a fourth push button issue be pimped by the naysayers. Someone posted a comment that they didn't even know this station exists. They also might not know that Amtrak arrives at the station daily (albeit at night). The station IS largely ADA compliant-it's one level, and doesn't require anything extraordinary in comparison to other Amtrak stations. Out in Arizona, Amtrak drops passengers off on a concrete platform in the middle of the night. The only creature comfort, there, is a pole with a light, and an on off switch. IF the Lawrence station needs an ADA improvement, it might be necessary to make alterations to the bathrooms. If this and/ or maybe the roof repair adds up to $600,000 then I'm going to get me a roofing and plumbing license, bid this job and make a quick half million.Depot Redux organized to sponsor, fundraise, secure and support the station. Similar organizations exists in many other cities. If you don't think my statements are credible, then check it out for yourself: Kirkwood, Missouri; Norman, Oklahoma; Strong City (in progress); and Sedalia, Missouri (in progress.)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

A rail line to KC will never be a 'necessity' and will likely never be practical, either. Kansas City would have to do an awful lot to their metro-wide public transportation system to make it possible to get anywhere after taking a train into the city.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years ago

barrypenders, you need to update your knowledge of recent railroad history. The Reading Railroad (the real railroad, not the Monopoly board version) disappeared into the government-created Considated Railroad Corporation (Conrail) along with the Penn Central, Erie-Lackawanna, Central of New Jersey, Leheigh and Hudson River, and others) in 1975. This government-operated railroad functioned in competition with private railroad companies (Norfolk-Southern and CSX) for a number of years until, absolutely unimaginablely, they began to make a PROFIT!No government agency can long endure making money, they are all formulated to spend money. So Conrail was broken up into segments and given to the two major eastern railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern. An interesting footnote, the Conrail segments given to the modern day rail lines had a ghostly resemblance to the former Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad, two eastern rail lines that merged into the Penn Central and promptly proceeded into the same bankruptcy that their original corporate entities had entered. What goes around comes around.

igby 7 years ago

Put a dozer to work and get ride of it. The city does not need it just like they don't need a graveyard.$60,000 per year plus $600,000.00 to start. What the hell are you people thinking with?Corliss: "I'd love to build a pyramid" Lol.

fu7il3 7 years ago

If the railway was making money off the depot, they wouldn't be selling it for a dollar.

Godot 7 years ago

Do you really believe that, if there ever is a rail line between Kansas City and Lawrence, this little depot will be sufficient? Monuments to the ongoing waste of Lawrence taxpayer money: Eagle Bend, the T, and now the BNSF Depot. Why doesn't this little group of people pool their pennies to come up with the dollar to buy this building, and then set about raising money to renovate it? Why didn't the City Commission make this suggestion? Where are their brains?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

BNSF really doesn't use this depot-- Amtrak does, and BNSF only leases access to their tracks, and likely to the depot, as well.While this depot could cost a fair amount to repair and bring up to modern requirements, there is grant money available, and in the end this building will be worth considerably more than the city has to invest in it. Given that both air and auto travel are going to become more and more expensive over the next few years, having a functioning rail station will be very important.

Godot 7 years ago

"playing fiend"????Freudian slip, JackRipper?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Thanks Marty Kennedy for being the depot caretaker and it's a good buy for the city. Thanks City Commissioners!While the building may need some cosmetic work it still works for passengers and Lawrence will look at this purchase as a smart move as train travel increases. One day a Topeka/Lawrence/KCMO metro commuter train will bless this area as part of a public transportation system. As is done in other cities buses and taxis will meet passengers to transport them to their destinations.

Scott Tichenor 7 years ago

Predictably, anything in East Lawrence that's historic should take a back seat to the crap going up West of Iowa street. Riiighhhhhtt. That bastion of sameness, baby-poop colored houses, all in a row, all identical with minor alterations. Oh, I guess this isn't correct. They can spent a small fortune spiffing up Ohio street so that those folks maintain their home values. Don't like the activism displayed be the few getting something done? Get off your fat asses and form your own group. I'll be solidly behind this effort.

fu7il3 7 years ago

I'm sure Amtrak pays to use the depot. If they were paying enough that BNSF could pay upkeep and make a profit, they wouldn't be selling the depot. I don't see how this depot is going to bring money into the city, but I can see how it is going to remove plenty, when supposedly we have none to spend.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years ago

"the city could benefit economically from having an attractive depot just three blocks from downtown"How many depots three blocks from downtown does one small town need? We have one already.Tear it down.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

BNSF has no need for a passenger rail station-- they aren't in that business. That's why they are willing to sell if for a dollar, and they likely get some good tax write-offs, as well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"As eager as this commission is for this project I just wonder if there isn't an alternative motive driving this. I can't see these guys being interested in train stations."This commission's main purpose is promoting bedroom sprawl. With gas prices rising, "sprawl" as an economic model is threatened, so train travel may become a necessary option for Lawrence commuters, and for growth industries. That doesn't mean they've given up on building more and more roads, though.

Godot 7 years ago

Reality_Check, if it is such an easy project, why don't you pony up your dollar bill, buy the property and fix it up yourself.

KCKANSAN 7 years ago

Just for the record, and anyone who disputes this doesn't know that they're talking about. Amtrak typically operates from a station under this financial arrangement:1. Amtrak typically pays $1 a year in rent and picks up utility costs. 2. Cities or owners maintain the structure, and provide other services and insurance. Local lease, public use, and concessions are all on the table pursuant to how the owners or the city wishes operate within the provisions of their charter.

Godot 7 years ago

Go to the Amtrak website and see for yourself that there are very few destinations that you can reach by Amtrak by starting in Lawrence. This is not going to change any time soon in the foreseeable future. If Amtrak is worried about how the depot looks, let them fix it.

compmd 7 years ago

The ignorance in this thread is flat out astounding.1) This depot is on a completely different rail line than the depot in North Lawrence. Its a BNSF depot, and the one in North Lawrence is UP.2) Thousands of people come through the station every year. 3) The number or rail passenger is projected to increase. Today, only a couple years after Amtrak considered shutting down the Southwest Chief, the train is often booked solid from here to Chicago months in advance.4) People talk about a train line from here to Kansas City. That's exactly what the BNSF line is. I don't think that the city should have to foot the entire bill for BNSF's lack of maintenance, but the station should be kept in good shape. There are plenty of other very old train stations kept in good condition. The suburban stations on the UP-North line on Chicago's Metra system are in fantastic shape, and they are decades older than our BNSF station.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years ago

"The trains will stop anyway, even if ownership remains the same. They won't move the rails."Exactly. Someone explain to this taxpayer how I will benefit from this.

fu7il3 7 years ago

The railways are dying. Nothing is going to change that. If the city does this, all they'll have is several hundred thousand dollars invested in an example of 1950's architecture. Yay. What history...

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years ago

Barrypenders, Amtrak will tear it down and petition the city to put up one of those cute little bus stop kiosk thingys. They have done this in many other communities. To the contributor who made the statement "the railways are dying", I would say YOU need to change your whiskey. Fact is, since we as a nation have sold our commerce and a lot of our industry to China, the nation's railroads have experienced a huge upturn in business hauling all that Wal-Mart crap into the interior for customers seeking the lowest possible price. And depspite the governer's kiss-up to the looney left, they are doing pretty well hauling a lot of coal to a lot of coal- fired electric generating plants. The railroads are doing fine, get your mentality out of the 1060'sAs for the depot, this is a two-sided debate. Of course the city commission is going to go along with the instructions of the city manager and staff, they do not have the ability to do anything else. But the prospect of $10.00 (or more) a gallon gasoline coupled with the head-in-the-sand attitude of most folks regarding finding new renewable energy sources for use when the oil finally runs out (it is a finite and limited resource) rail travel will probably overcome the present attitude on "one person-one car". The airlines will own a lot of useless metal tubes with wings, gas fueled autos will be useful only as boat anchors, and people will be doing a lot of walking or traveling by the same method our ancestors did 100 years ago when the railways were the great new way to get from Lawrence to Topeka in less than a day's travel. So it is a crap-shoot. "Hey, great deal an old building for a buck (no thought to the maintenance and upkeep) or "sooner or later, travel by rail will be necessary, not optional". But you can always trust our city commissioners to make the wrong decision, they are best at that.

aldo 7 years ago

What a great deal for the railroad ! The City takes over maintenance and ownership responsibilities for their place of business. If I ask real nice, do you think the City will build and maintain a building for my business, too ? I have a dollar ... When the city doesn't have enough money to buy 4 shovels full of asphalt to fix the street in front of my house, they want to buy another white elephant? Let's go all out and put a roundabout in front of the depot, too ... tax and spend, tax and spend >>>

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Still think they would find something requiring it to be torn down and favorite developers being asked to come up with a $30 million train station with retail and coffee shops, hey how about throwing in a library with it too!"Sadly, this is even more likely.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Reality_Check (Anonymous) says: "As I wrote in another thread, the building is historic as all getout if you know anything about railroad history. And, the number of Amtrak passengers is rising dramatically."It didn't have any other direction to go in. And it's still a miniscule portion of the passenger travel market (three times as many people use intercity buses), despite its 'dramatic' rise."Rich people were taking the airlines, middle class people were taking cars, and only the poor were riding the rails."And for the $64,000 question: What's changed? With the increase in the price of gas, rich people will continue to fly, middle class people will drive, and only poor people will take the trains - in other words, the same formula that killed passenger rail 50 years ago."Again, this thing is a public gateway to Lawrence."At 10 people per day, it would be cheaper to hire someone to go out and welcome each one personally."The trains are booked solid right now."Um - no, they're not."Amtrak bookings are up 15% this year."115% of nothing is still nothing.*****just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The news of their death is greatly exaggerated."Accounting for about 1% of long distance passenger miles, rail service may not be dead, but it would be if we took it off life support.****compmd (Anonymous) says: "3) The number or rail passenger is projected to increase. Today, only a couple years after Amtrak considered shutting down the Southwest Chief, the train is often booked solid from here to Chicago months in advance."Wanna' try again? I keep hearing this BS, but if you go to Amtrak's website right now, you'll find you can get a seat on the train for tomorrow morning.****logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "In this developer-crazed city, is there really no private investor that is interested in taking this on?"Funny thing, private developers usually only like to spend their money on something that will provide a return on the investment. Which is why nobody's done it.****JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "For those who think rail is dead again the numbers are up. Amazing what happens when the playing field is made just a tad bit more level."And again I'll repeat the numbers had no other direction to go in. An old fogey ex-railroader who pines for the old days like you, Jack, out to remember that rail was completely dead until the gas crunches of the 70's, then enjoyed a momentary blip before fading into superfluousness again. As will happen this time. And why, Jack? Because no matter how you try to spin it, people don't want to ride trains. Maybe a few more (and it is a few more) are using them now because they have to, but as other options become affordable again, they'll run from the trains like their hair's on fire.

Godot 7 years ago

Just last week Hack and Dever told the public that the city of Lawrence is in dire straights, financially. Now the commission makes this commitment, which we all know will cost much, much more than estimated.The irresponsibility of this decision is breathtaking. I did not even bother to write or call about it because it appeared to be such a stupid idea that I trusted the commissioners to make the right decision. Man, was I wrong.This gives those of us who oppose the sales tax increase one more example of extremely poor fiscal management and a failure of planning and decision making that we can point to when urging people to vote No.

KCKANSAN 7 years ago

. To: OldEnuf2BYurDad (Anonymous) I used to live in Kansas City, and back then the council put their hands down my pants and took money from me (a taxpayer) for many years to build a place for big guys to chase balls and hit balls, and some of them grope each other on the ground (or it looks that way) and they do this same thing in Lawrence (go Hawks) and worship idols-it was very liberal. So I complained and I was told many times I was an A-hole and that MCI and Arrowhead and Kaufmann are good things for the city and it makes us somebody and someplace. I thought it was wrong that I had to pay for a place that people from Lawrence used-it was MY TAX MONEY. Oh the horror, the horror. Oldenough: Please tell me I'm not stupid or an A-hole and how these billion dollar projects helped me and my next door neighbor

samsnewplace 7 years ago

My thanks first of all to Mr. Chestnut who seems to be the only one thinking! Hawk I loved your post, and you are more than correct, i'm sure we will need a study/survey done for $$$$$ and then lets spend, spend, spend for all the private contractors we can find to make it a place the city can be proud of. Who's pockets will this funding come out of, yours and mine but what a buy for only a $1.

monkeyspunk 7 years ago

Godot has an excellent point about the viability of rail traffic leaving Lawrence. There is no reason right now to take control of this station. If there were more stops, more times, more trains between Kansas City, MO and Topeka, then I would say "yes" to this, but until then, it just seems like a waste of money. I would very much like to see rail become a choice for commuters, but the attitude toward rail is so negative. And to spend tax money on something like this when in our "neighborhood" no one else is interested just seems wasteful.

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

well,if merrill is for this, then we all should "get on board!" [pun intended!] because of course merrill is such a farsighted leader: he wants rolling blackouts to force us to save electricity; and nearby the station, was the 700 block of ny, he said that broken streets serve as passive traffic calming devices! **The "ADA compliance" issue is a fourth push button issue be pimped by the naysayers. Someone posted a comment that they didn't even know this station exists.They also might not know that Amtrak arrives at the station daily (albeit at night). The station IS largely ADA compliant-it's one level, and doesn't requireanything extraordinary in comparison to other Amtrak stations. Out in Arizona, Amtrak drops passengers off on a concrete platform in the middle of thenight. The only creature comfort, there, is a pole with a light, and an on off switch. IF the Lawrence station needs an ADA improvement, it might be necessaryto make alterations to the bathrooms. If this and/ or maybe the roof repair adds up to $600,000 then I'm going to get me a roofing and plumbing license,bid this job and make a quick half million.last night, the bill for ADA compliance was given by city staff: $400., 000 reality, bet more like $750,000. we're supposed to vote for a sales tax increase to fix basic infrastructure while city money is thrown away on this liberal pipedream? riiiiiiiight. you touting the good of fed grants, how many of them, like the rail trail thingy, require matching money? so, still draining our local pool of money! I was like godot, I didn't bother to contact commissioners because this seemed so patently silly. now, though, they'll be hearing from me. the deal isn't done! and, in calculating that one million $ cost for the building, did it account for the loss of annual property tax on the building? yes, i do believe that amtrak was leasing/renting access to that building. apparently, they in their own budgetary hard times, weren't offering the BNSF enough. btw, I do agree on some of the reasons to fix up the depot, and I think we might see an increase in passengers. but every household has wants and needs. we're raising sales taxes on needs, and throwing a heck of a lot of money after a want in this depot restoration!

fu7il3 7 years ago

"2) Thousands of people come through the station every year."3700 is a little over ten people a day. I doubt that will cover the 60 grand in operational and maintenance costs per year. And the number isn't projected to increase unless a proposal to have an OKC to KC train materializes. The city would be putting an awful lot of faith in that proposal if they expect to actual get revenue from this thing.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

"The irresponsibility of this decision is breathtaking."Worth repeating....Absolutely irresponsible. Is the city pandering to these far left groups in hopes of appeasing some of the "developer friendly" decisions that may be unpopular with these small, loudmouth factions? A little payoff perhaps, or is the city so desperate to be something? Lawrence is definitely becoming more insignificant by the day, and the more the city sucks our wallets dry, the greater the exodus. Then who will be left to fund these outrageous wishes and dreams? No wonder some people who live here truly despise it, and are only inspired by the vision of that last glance of Lawrence in the rear view mirror.

50YearResident 7 years ago

How is Lawrence going to benefit from owning this building? Is there income coming in to the present owners? Will there be income coming for the city of Lawrence? What will be the Property Tax Loss be?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"The railways are dying."The news of their death is greatly exaggerated.

Godot 7 years ago

Oh, now we transition from debate to personal attack, a la KCKANSAN. That must be because I hit a nerve when I demonstrated the obvious, that, if you choose to use the Lawrence depot for departure, there are only a few places you can go. In my little experiment with the Amtrak ticketing site, I entered "lawrence" as departure, and "Grand Canyon" (twice, because there are two choices for Grand Canyon," and received the error message that my choice did not exist.I tried Colorado Springs, because I will be making a trip there; it took me to New Mexico, where I had to take a BUS to Colorado Springs. I tried San Antonio; you can't get there from here. You have to go to Union Station in KC, and then have a 19 hour ride with two changes. And the cost is higher than for a 2 hour trip by plane. Time is money.Trains go only where the tracks are, and the tracks don't go to all the places people need and want to go. If you think it will be a long time before referineries get up and running, just think how long it will take to plan rail lines, purchase the rights of way, and lay the track. And think of the expense! Current rail lines were built with near-slave labor; new rail lines will be built by union members. There is not enough money in the US economy to fund that.

KCKANSAN 7 years ago

Godot (Anonymous) says: "Go to the Amtrak website and see for yourself that there are very few destinations that you can reach by Amtrak by starting in Lawrence. This is not going to change any time soon in the foreseeable future. If Amtrak is worried about how the depot looks, let them fix it."Godot thinks in terms of destinations. I presume that means New York, Chicago, Boston, and of course Washington, DC, ooopps, forgot LA. Well there you have it-the whole country that counts or is worth a damn, and that's it. From Lawrence, Amtrak connects to Kansas City, St. Louis, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Washington, MO, La Plata, Hermann, Springfiled, Fort Madison, Ilinois, Napierville, Jefferson City, Albuquerque, Grand Canyon (I done it), Santa Fe (I done it), Garden City, Dodge City, Hutchinson, Newton, and hundreds of other communities. These places are on the line and down the line. But, and this is critical, not one of these places is worthy of the snobbish consideration of Godot. Anybody or anything going there or associated with those places is "of no account."

Godot 7 years ago

Why is this a pet project of the left? Maybe because of the hold unions have on the railroads, maybe because limiting the choice of departure and arrival lends itself to control and surveillance, maybe because some wealthy liberals have invested in railways? Because it will cause people to take more time to travel, therefore requiring more time off from working if they choose to travel, thus reducing productivity? Fact is, railroad was a gift 150 years ago because there were fewer population centers, and there was no better method of land travel. Maybe the left longs for the past.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

BNSF is a business. They do only what's best for their bottom line. Lawrence is a city, and they do what benefits the citizens of Lawrence.Owning and renovating a passenger depot does little or nothing for a freight railway. Doing so could provide many benefits for the citizens of Lawrence.Hence, the change of ownership.

BigPrune 7 years ago

Sell to Amtrack for $1.00, or sell it to the homeless coalition so the bums have a place to live.Or, just tear it down. Not enough people use that crappy old building to justify spending $600,000 fixing it. I will give BNSF $2.00 for it, but the City would disallow anything for it since they wouldn't be the owner, kind of like what they're doing to crappy Farmland.

igby 7 years ago

I changed my mind!Buy it for a $1.Spray it with Rino-lining.Move the drop center and salvation army down there. Lol.Then, tear it down later.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Not that there is anybody smarter then you nota, ol master, but there are some other smart people, again, not as smart as you but perhaps credible that peak oil could be a problem. You continue to make it sound like only a few people use the train but anyone who wants can look it up. No, not carrying as many people as air and cars but like I said, when the they operate with just a tad bit more level playing fiend the number went up and that is on a system that is crippled. You are the only one spinning."Lordie what a boring old codger, lost in his fantasy land.That's right, Jackie, anyone can look it up. I've posted the links several times. And when they do look it up, they'll see that 1% of American long distance miles are travelled by train. You're the only one who keeps insisting it's more (although I notice you don't seem to have any figures of your own - how odd). And that's compared to 3% that are by intercity bus - that's right, Jackie, 3 times as many people would rather ride Greyhound than your precious trains.And you keep holding on to your favorite delusion, that cars can only run on oil-based power. I know you haven't read a book or a newspaper in the last several decades, Jackie, but the technology to power cars - and planes - by alternate means has existed for quite a while.The number went up for the same reason they did the only other time ridership increased since the 50's, Jackie - because of the simple economics. Yet you continue to ignore the part of history that says when the gas situation stabilized last time, people once again abandoned your choo-choos. Tomorrow's cars may not be based on gasoline engines, and they may not look like the ones we have today (just like today's don't look much like the ones we had before the 70's), but we'll still have them, and we'll still use them, and you still won't understand why.And I'm all for a level playing field, Jackie. I'm all for the people who use the trains bearing the entire cost, just as the people who use the roads do. That's the part you never seem to grasp, Jackie. Maybe you never had a paying job or paid taxes, so you don't realize that the money the government spends on roads comes out of the pockets of those same people who benefit from the roads. And again, no matter how much you try to spin, you can't claim that about trains. When they cut the per-user government expenditures for train travel back to the level it is for roads, we'll see how many Amtrak routes will still be in operation. There will still be some travel by train in the Boston-DC corridor - the only place in the country where Amtrak is self-supporting - but that's the only place you'll see them.But like I said, you can always come down to Baldwin and ride the antiques - oughta' make you feel right at home.

Doug Fisher 7 years ago

the previous depot at this location was much prettier than the current one. if anyone is interested just look up some old pics of the original brick depot. the 51" flood pretty much destroyed it from what i've heard from some old timers.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: "Lawrence wants to be a destination city. Voila, we have the solution. "ROFLMFAO!But a better idea than some others I've heard.['Soylent Green - it's people!']

notajayhawk 7 years ago

(continued)"There are a lot of things the masses may want and if you look back in history you may find that many times what the masses wanted was not what was morally and ethically the right choices, that is why we have (had) a republican form of government, not purely democratic."Right, Jackie, 'cause private car ownership is right up there with slavery. It's immoral, unethical, and downright evil to drive a car and not patronize your noble choo-choos. So speaketh Saint Jackripper from the Holy Book of Socialism. My but you're full of yourself tonight, Jackie, even more so than usual.****logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "Funny thing, some projects take a bit of investment and foresight before it becomes a return on that investment.""With the future of crude prices not expected to subside anytime soon, a functioning train station may indeed be a solution and become a worthwhile investment."The major flaw with your 'logic' is that if it was such a good investment, developers would be seeking out the city, the city wouldn't have to seek them out. Or, to put it more simply, if it's such a good deal, why hasn't anyone done it?"Always the naysayer, notabletoagreewithanyone."Still having that little reading comprehension problem, I see. Maybe you didn't read the posts to this thread, but other than Jackripper and maybe one or two others, just who exactly are you agreeing with here?

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Oh nota, it is starting to become clear to me that because you define your manhood by the vehicle that taking mass transit would emasculate you therefore the reason for your tone."Speaking of challenged manhood, Jackie-boy, I'm not the one crying in his pabalum every day because they took his toy choo-choos away. I have repeatedly argued this matter giving documented facts and numbers which, in your bitter resentment at the cruel world that took away your job on the railroad, you refuse to even acknowledge, and apparently are far too dense to comprehend. I've also asked repeatedly for you to back up any of your delusions with facts and figures, which you can't do. Even history is something you refuse to recognize. If having pity on a senile old fool who can't get over the fact that it's not 1940 anymore makes me less masculine, so be it - but I do pity a close-minded old man who can't live in today's world and who is so completely committed to a blind - and failed - ideology that he can't face reality."one of the ideas of peak oil is we will never be able to replace oil with a substitute"Really, Jackie? Big shortage of coal, is there? Or uranium? How about wind, or sunlight? I assume you had some inkling of an idea of where the electricity was going to come from to power your choo-choos when the oil's gone - but that same electricity can't power electric cars?"might have to live in a world where driving 500 miles a week just doesn't make sense and we hire more people in the locals instead of having the great one traveling all over the place to grace his loyal subjects with his presence."And this is the heart of the matter, isn't it, Jackie? Now I'm relatively certain there's no more demand for bitter old ex-railroaders who were forced into retirement with no real skills and limited intellectual capacity in Topeka or Kansas City than there is locally - again, I do pity you for having no options and for the hit to your masculinity when you realized you were basically useless to anyone. But I do have options, Jackie, and yes, my services are in demand. And it's really not my fault that the local job prospects (and pay scale) are a sad joke compared to where I work, nor is it my fault that my wife's extended family has lived here in Douglas County for generations. And I certainly don't have to apologize to an envious old geezer who can't stop living in the past for providing the best standard of living I'm capable of giving to my wife and children.(continued)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

(continued)"You can attack me but I'm just a lowly one who has read these things from people who write books and get them published by major publishers. When is your book coming out?"Except, oh whiney one, I not only provide facts but document the sources - while you post information from where, again? You say you read this stuff in books, but for some reason never give references or sources. Gee, I wonder why."Seriously if you can't see how the private enterprise passenger trains were ran out of business when the government got into the business of building airports and roads which, an other fact you refuse to accept, also draw from the general budgets not just the gas taxes then there is no point continuing this."You really are of limited capacity, aren't you, Jackie?There is a fundamental difference between a government body backing a bond issue to build an airport, a bond to be paid back from fees assessed to the passengers and the airlines themselves, and a government agency paying half the operating revenue of a train line. Not infrastructure, Jackie, operating costs. And I've never claimed that roads aren't paid for in part by general revenue funds. The part that seemingly won't fit into your little pin head is that those general revenue funds also come from the people who use the roads. I (and the thousands of people traveling along with me on my daily commute) pay income tax and sales tax and property tax too, Jackie. Those funds are paid into by the very same people who use the roads - which is everyone, Jackie, even those who don't drive. (Even buses need roads, and even train passengers need roads to get to and from the station.) Passenger rail service simply can not claim the same thing - while only 1% of us use it, everyone pays for it - fully half of every fare that Amtrak carries is paid for by the sales taxes and income taxes and property taxes of the 99% of the population who don't ride the trains. If you can't grasp that simple little concept, Jackie, you're right, it is hopeless to debate.And only you, Jackie, think the railroads were run out of business by governments building roads. I know you're delusional, Jackie, but it's not as if some government official said "Hey, let's build some roads, and people will want to buy cars to fill up those empty highways." The owners of the cars - that is, we, the people of this country, who currently register 250,000,000 passenger vehicles in America - bought the cars when it became affordable and practical (surely you're old enough to remember the Model T), and then demanded that our government build the roads using our money. Only you are so warped that you believe in the build-it-and-they-will-come scenario.(continued)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

(continued)And the other part that doesn't seem to be able to fit in your murky excuse for a brain, Jackie, is that we once had the complete system you keep dreaming of - then people chose to stop using it. Again, yes, they chose to stop riding the trains. Even after the last gas crunch, when passenger rail was saved from the chopping block, there was a momentary blip in increased ridership, and as soon as they could, people abandoned the rails once again. Why, Jackie? I know the cognitive dissonance rattling around in your empty cranium must be deafening at the very possibility of accepting the reality, but it's becausepeopledon'twanttoridetrains."Is it difficult to understand that when you can have the government get involved in building roads anywhere you want the same could be true for rail?"Except we're not talking about building rails, Jackie. We're talking about operating costs. The government doesn't pay for half my gas or for the cost of half my car. They do pay for half of the ticket you buy to ride on your choo-choo. I know business is just one of the many topics you're in complete ignorance of, Jackie, but there really is a difference between infrastructure and operating costs.And once again, although I'm sure it isn't going to sink into that concrete skull of yours any more than the last 1000 times I've said it, we spend money on roads because everyone uses them. Only a tiny, insignificant minority rides the trains, Jackie."As far as the fuel, we wouldn't need as much if more people took the train since it is far more efficient then all the cars."But you said the oil was running out, Jackie. Oh, wait, got it - we'll always have oil and it's okay to use it when it comes to the mode of travel you want, but there will be no oil and it's wrong to use it for the modes preferred by virtually everyone else."It is interesting to look at your postings where you discuss all the problems of your world and your superiority instead of sticking with the issues."Yeah. Jackie's comments are always relevant. As relevant as China, NAFTA, Social Security, etc., are to a discussion of the relative merits (or lack thereof) of train travel:http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/feb/15/amtrak_plan_would_expand_service_south/#comment_524854Pretty much says it all, Jackie.(continued)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Ah so sad when people who feel they are conservative and real Americans are actually just socialist when it fits their needs."Well, Jackie, since you are the only one saying this is a socialist country, I guess we really don't know WTF you're talking about. Pretty much as usual with your rants."Ok, continue to delude yourselves that when the government program is beneficial to what you like then it is really not socialism but the great free market at play."Not beneficial to us, Jackie. That's the part you are either too stupid to understand - and I'm leaning in the direction of believing that, even though it seems nobody could be that stupid - or you're deliberately being an obstinate troll. Then again, those two aren't mutually exclusive. The government spends money on roads because the roads benefit 100% of the population, Jackie, even those that don't drive, and because every single person who is taxed to pay for those roads uses them. When 99% of us choose to spend our travel dollars on modes of travel other than trains - yes, I said we choose to - that's the free market at work, Jackie. When we buy and register 250,000,000 cars and use them daily, Jackie, we're not voting for more rails."Is it that difficult to comprehend that if the system isn't complete it can't be used?"Gee, Jackie, I dunno' - why is it so difficult for you to comprehend that the problem isn't exactly a lack of empty seats? If rail ridership is up 15% at the moment, that means less than 2 more people per day using the Lawrence depot - yep, really sounds like they'll have to add cars for that.(continued)

notajayhawk 7 years ago

(continued)Thanks for the definition of megalomania, Jackie. It does suit you to a tee. Someone who, when called a socialist, puts himself forth as an expert on socialism by attempting to explain that any time the government spends money it's socialism, well, you sure showed us your level of expertise there. Someone who's in the 1% minority who thinks he speaks for the other 99% who have long since eschewed the lifestyle he's trying to foist on the rest of us seems to fit your definition quite well. Someone who sets himself up as the decider of what's moral and ethical, that refers to the lifestyle choices made by the overwhelming majority of Americans as insane or irresponsible, someone that has the audacity to believe he has the right to make such judgments, well, Jackie, you fit the bill yet again. Someone like you, Jackie, who keeps insisting only he has the right answer, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, yep, that fits. Someone who laughs as if he's made a point when all he's done is make an utter a of himself for the umpteenth time, well, that's our boy megalomaniac-Jack. Oh, and by the way - that's why I address you as I do - because that's exactly what you ask for.Luckily, Jackie, I don't have to care what you think. I live in the real world, I am part of that 99%. You're the one begging hat-in-hand and not understanding why people don't agree with you. We have what we want, Jackie, and we don't have to give you what your Clay Chastain kool-aid club thinks we should give you. Deluding myself, Jackie? The reality is that everything is fine with me the way things are and the way they're headed. And your opinion as to the way things should be is as irrelevant as - well, as you are, Jackie.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "I really did nail it didn't I as the longer the usual rant of superiority spews forth."Gee, Jackie, sorry if my posts make you feel so inferior. But I really can't take any satisfaction from that - disputing your delusional excuse for an argument really doesn't require very much effort. A firm grasp on reality and an ability to read are pretty much all that's required to see the idiocy of your position."Good thing for you is you can get a full size 4X4 for cheap now, nothing makes a man a man like a big ol pickup."Is that how you do it, Jackie? 'Cause I drive a compact car - which, again, if you could read, you would have known.By the way, exactly what personal inadequacy are you trying to compensate for with your fixation for locomotives?"As said before, bonds are not restricted to certain kinds of investments."Well, yes, they are. They're restricted to those that have a reasonable possibility of paying off the bond. An airport, for instance, that tens of thousands of people pay $4 each to walk through every day, plus the fees the airlines pay for operating from that airport. Yeah, I'm sure collecting $4 from each of the ten people who use the Lawrence depot daily would make a big dent in Amtrak's operating deficit. At least it might, if half their fare wasn't already being paid by my tax dollars."Just like if you went to drive your car tomorrow and there were no roads to the places you wanted to go you wouldn't be able to take the car, pretty simple I think."Why, yes, you are pretty simple, Jackie. You still hold onto the ludicrous contention that if we build more trains more people would use them, when people aren't riding the ones they already have - which is as hysterically funny as your belief that the building of roads fueled the demand for cars, rather than the other way around."Coal and nuclear? Yeah, those are sure solutions with many of their own issues, guess we'll overlook those as we try to maintain our current ways."So once again, Mr. Delusion: Where's the electricity coming from to power your choo-choos when the oil's gone? I suppose a 300 mph train driven by a sail on top isn't any more outlandish than your other 'arguments.'

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Ah yes, still not comprehending."Well, at least you can admit to it, Jackie, that's a good first step. Maybe there's hope."You do understand nota that socialism is when the government uses our money to do things don't you?"Well, um - no. At least we can now safely add political science to the rather extensive list of topics Jackie-boy has absolutely no understanding of.Congratulations, Jackie! In one fell swoop you've turned the entire known world into socialists! Because, according to you, every government in the world, at every level, that collects and spends money from its citizens to fund services and infrastructure to benefit those citizens is socialist. Maybe on the planet you live on...For your edification, Jackie, the defining feature of socialism is when the rights of the individual to choose how to spend the fruits of their labors is seconded to the governments power to take those 'fruits' for the benefit of the state. That is hardly the case with expenditures for roads, Jackie. The American public has made it abundently clear, through their choice of which modes of transportation they spend their travel dollars on, through their purchase of and daily use of the 250,000,000 registered passenger vehicles in this country, through votes on bond issues and tax increases for building and improving those roads, through their choice of elected officials who support the infrastructure decisions the populace demands, that we want roads. A government who spends the money they collect from those people on modes of transportation that Benefit all those people and supports the lifestyle choices of those people is not socialist, Jackie.Socialism is when delusional, megalomaniacal nimrods - like you - try to force people to live the way a tiny minority chooses. Socialism is when the government collects money from all the people to pay for the choices of a tiny few who want it their way and won't pay for it themselves. Socialism, Jackie-boy, is when nimrods like yourself try to tell others they aren't entitled to any lifestyle they choose and can afford - that it's immoral and unethical to 'indulge' oneself with private transportation, that we don't have the right to live and work where ever we choose to and can afford to, that commuting outside a radius approved by the self-appointed guardians of acceptable values is forbidden. Socialism, Jackie, is when you try to tell me that I'm not entitled own a car and use all the gas I can afford to buy because you have decided it isn't in the best interests of society (read: "Jackripper").

notajayhawk 7 years ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "You know I knew it would only be a matter of time before you said the words you aren't paid what you are worth. Gosh, how I figured that was the case LOL."Oh, Jackie, I get paid very well, thank you. I'll still be making my 550 mile per week commute when gas is $7/gal., and while I may make some adjustments - adjustments which will still involve commuting - at $10/gal., I'll still be working where I choose and living where I choose. Why? Because I can afford it, Jackie - I'm willing to bet what I make is substantially more than what the railroad kissed you off with when your services were no longer needed.By the way, Jackie, inappropriate laughter (such as attempting to laugh at me when you've just yet again made such an utter fool of yourself) is another possible sign of a psychotic disorder. Coupled with your complete inability to distinguish your delusions from reality, you really ought to seek professional help.

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

well, Nota, I agree with you definition of socialism, indeed. and that one point shows how clueless and delusional Jackripper is. your points are all accurate and certain Nota. I also note in reading that as Jackripper gets to feeling like he's losing the argument, he steps right up to personal attacks, RE why you're allegedly driving some big truck? my, he really has a very vivid imagination, doesn't he. you know, she rest home staff should be notified that he needs a change in meds, or a psych eval. your facts regarding passenger miles are correct too, and he doesn't really try to dispute them, just hurl monkey poop at the outside of his cage! Gomer, do you ever have a thought that doesn't get processed through the "liberal = bad" echo chamber in your head?---well, logicunsound, I'm not the only one here describing this proposal this way! and, it has been hilarious reading your comments about how a developer could take this on, and the city chould just cushion some of the risk! yeah, that really means, leaving us tax payers holding the bag! if the risk is that bad, the developer shouldn't attempt it! also I want to note, isn't it you that has used the phrase "developturd" on this forum many times before? so, they're developturds when they're trying to make a profit, but when they take on unreasonable risk, then they're okay--developers? wow.
and, finally reality-check needs one! he/she is living a fantasy world, and probably imagines that this city can print its own money! we're troubled about how to buy a firetruck! a third of our streets are broken! if maintenance isn't stepped up, more streets will be rated as broken! *again I'll say, I've traveled many times by rail and it is a good option sometimes. however, it only goes where it goes. and often it takes a long time or costs too much. finally, reality-check and others seem to forget that this building is now private property, and the owner can choose to do whatever is chosen by him/her/them. do we need to add $60,000 annual maintenance cost for the building, and additional city staff hours? bet there isn't much grant money for the boring every day stuff! no, we don't. put down the credit card, and walk away!

Godot 7 years ago

It is useless to try to debate this; Federal expansion of rail transportation is the official Democrat party line. Blind loyalty to the Democrat party trumps all sense and logic.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"You are essentially saying that for not as much money as it takes to rebuild highway 59 we shouldn't reopen the Amtrak line from Texas to the Southwest Chief which means limiting the option for people to use the train in a way that is efficient. That is like saying we should have built I-70 but not I-35, it just doesn't make sense."Lordie you're dense, Jackie.The difference is that people use Highway 59, Jackie, and they don't use the Southwest Chief. More people drive along 59 in a week than use the Chief in a year. Another difference, Jackie, is that people who live in Baldwin and work in Ottawa, or live in Ottawa and go to school at KU, can't ride the Chief to get where they're going. And we won't even get into when they need it; opening up the line the rest of the way won't add more rail capacity, Jackie, the other great limitation of rail service; maybe you'd be able to take the train all the way from Fort Worth to Lawrence, but you'd still only be able to do it once a day, when the railroad says you can. Oh, and you'd still need roads to get around when you got there.Maybe you haven't noticed this, Jackie, but I-35 and I-70 go to different places. See, the even numbered routes go east-west, and the odd numbered routes go north-south. If one starts a trip from Kansas City, Jackie, you need I-35 to get to Des Moines, I-70 won't get you there, and you need I-70 if you want to get to St. Louis, 'cause I-35 doesn't go there. So no, I wouldn't be in favor of eliminating either of those routes. Now, would I oppose a parallel route, an unnecessary line of travel running alongside I-35, say between Oklahoma City and Forth Worth? Yes, I would oppose that because it's a waste of money on a completely superfluous travel choice - you know, like the Southwest Chief.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"Goosestepping." Good term for what you're doing, Herr Ripper. Like telling me I have no right to live and work where I please. Like telling me I have no right to consume any commodity I can afford to buy from the paychecks I earn. Like saying using personal transportation instead of your precious choo-choos is unethical and immoral.Maybe you think you're scoring points here, Jackie - if only you could read, maybe you'd see that I'm not the only one laughing at your ignorance, and the fact that you feel the need to so vehemently express that ignorance. As I said, luckily I don't have to care what the illiterate, marginalized and insignificant old geezers who want to force their lifestyle on the rest of us think - if what you're doing can be referred to as thinking.And it's really a shame you still haven't found anyone who can read to you, Jackie, else you may have saved yourself from yet another embarassment - had you been able to understand the post you linked to, you would have realized that the commute was specifically mentioned as something that didn't contribute to my tiring week, that it was extra tasks that had to be accomplished in addition to my regular work week.But while you're mentioning spending "so much time to write all the insults instead of discussing the issues," Jackie, maybe you'd like to point out a single word in your last two posts that had anything whatsoever to do with the issue or topic of the City of Lawrence buying the train depot?

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Okay, Jackie, let's be fair.Since the people who use the roads - which is to say everyone - pay for them ourselves, how 'bout if that tiny insignificant portion of you that use the trains pay for them yourselves?Yeah, Jackie, I'm sure your comments about commuting being insane and the evils of sprawl and the immorality and unethical nature of the masses choosing their own way of life doesn't suggest in any way that you want to get rid of cars. But while you're bringing up paranoia, Jackie (Mr. the-government-conspired-to-kill-the-trains), why don't you point out where I - or anyone - said anything about taking away the trains we currently have. I see lots of people saying not to waste any more money, and I and others have said you should start paying for the trains yourself (like we pay for the roads ourselves). I've said repeatedly that people should be allowed to choose how, when, and where they travel.It's just that 99% of those choices don't involve passenger train travel, Jackie.

Scott Tichenor 7 years ago

Marion, if you're still reading this, in response to your question, I'd be happy to financially support the rehab of the train station. Not everyone in East Lawrence is on food stamps, sorry if that's outside of your understanding. Some of us have more than enough disposable income. Another thing, Marion: 11588 posts. Get a life.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Jakie, why are you trying so very hard to keep showing people how little you know and understand about anything? We got it already - you like choo-choos, and you are completely incapable of understanding that very, very few people want the lifestyle you're trying to force on everyone else. Speaking of paranoia, Jackie, yet another term you have no understanding of, how you coming along with the great conspiracy theory on how passenger rail died, that it wasn't people's choice to stop using them but the government decided to build roads so we'd have to buy cars? (Sorry to keep throwing that one out, Jackie, but it always brings a little chuckle.) And I never said anyone was trying to take our cars away, Jackie, despite your desires that it do so - I believe I've said - a couple of times - that we're going to be driving cars for a long, long time, long after the oil's gone."Let's make it fair and have toll roads nota. Surely that makes sense that way the people who really need to use the road are paying for it right there."Why, what a wondeful idea, Jackie. Brilliant as always. Instead of all of us pooling our money to build a playground for our kids, let's make the kids pay every time they want to use the swingset. And libraries? Forget it - that's a big socialist plot, isn't it Jackie? Isn't it socialism, according to you, when the government collects money from us and buys things for us to use? So forget that, people can go to Borders from now on. Oh, and let's not forget schools, Jackie, we can't collect money and have a free school system, according to you, we have to send our kids to private schools and pay the tuition out of our own pockets or we're not really paying for it. Maybe you can lead the effort to put pay toilets in everyone's houses instead of collecting taxes to build sewers.I've already said toll roads would be fine with me, Jackie - I could take the money they're currently getting from me in taxes and use that. But whether it's in tolls or in taxes, Jackie, the people who use the roads are still paying for them. The people who ride the trains are not."Pork at a time when we are so seriously in debt at the government and personal level."More brilliance from JackRipper: Complain about how far in debt we are while asking for more money, billions and billions, to build a rail system. Really workable plans you come up with, Jackie.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Just as sad as the fact that JackRipper can't see - well, anything."If you can't go north and south then the east/west route has less potential."WTF was that supposed to say, Jackie? Not that we're expecting any of your blather to make sense, but really? Get back on your meds.And you can have all the trains you want, Jackie. Just pay the full cost for them, the way those of us who use the roads do. It's really amusing to watch you rant and rave about how we're all in debt and 'conservative' values in spending and all, then say we should sink millions or billions into a mode of transportation that nobody uses.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

You really need to get back on your meds, Jackie.You asked if I would be in favor of having I-35 but not I-70, or vice versa. I pointed out that both of those routes are necessary as they go to different places. The train to Fort Worth is completely UNnecessary, Jackie, as I-35 already goes there. I was never under the illusion that you were anything even resembling 'smart,' but figured you could grasp that much. My mistake.Wow, Jackie, train travel is on the way up - it must be at just about 1% of our travel choices. Gee. Impressive. By all means, let's sink a few million a year into the Southwest Chief instead of the road alongside it that 60 or 70 times as many people use every day. Good plan.Oh, I know, you're going to say we should do both - just before you lapse back into one of your rants on how much we're in debt and wasting money. At least I get to go to sleep laughing, as usual, after reading your posts, Jackie.

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