Friday, January 18, 2008

Quick hits: Rail in N.C.'s future, but sandbags are not

N.C.'s future rides on trains
"Just a few weeks ago Congress, for the first time in 32 years, increased vehicle fuel economy standards.

"Just a few weeks ago in Mecklenburg County, residents voted overwhelmingly to keep a tax to help pay for improved mass transit.

"And just a few weeks ago, the Association of American Railroads released a report that 2007 was the U.S. railroads' second best year ever for total volume, intermodal traffic and revenue -- and oil hit $100 a barrel.

"People and businesses in this country and North Carolina are beginning to think differently about our transportation future," writes Scott Saylor of the North Carolina Railroad Company in a special piece to the Charlotte Observer. "Travel and shipping delays caused by crowded, dangerous highways, environmental pollution from exhausts, and soaring energy costs are weighing on public opinion and the political process. ..."

Sandbags no longer to hold back ocean along N.C. coast
"A state decision to enforce a coastal regulation requires property owners along the North Carolina coast to remove sandbags from land threatened by the creeping Atlantic Ocean," says WRAL's Bill Leslie.

"State officials argued that the implementation of the regulation only honored the intent for sandbags to be temporary guardians against the Atlantic. But homeowners said the loss of the protection of sandbags will ensure the destruction of their homes, many of which are retirement investments.

" 'This is going to be catastrophic for the homeowners, for the state, for everybody,' said Yogi Harper, the owner of both a beach house protected by sandbags and a business that installs them. ..."

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