A Town Hall Meeting hosted by Congressman Dave Brat was held in the Hanover Town Hall on February 17th, 2016. Here are my notes. Please feel free to add your own comments and additional information.
Location: Hanover Town Hall
Date/Time: February 17th, 2016. 7:00 p.m.
- Congressman Dave Brat
- Chairman of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, Bucky Stanley
- Approximately 200-220 members of the public
The meeting opened at 7:00 p.m. The discussion to do with High Speed Rail started at 7:35 p.m. and lasted for approximately 35 minutes. The format was an unstructured Question and Answer session.
Some of the highlights of the discussion included:
- By show of hands more than 90% of the attendees showed an interest in the High Speed Rail project.
- Representative Brat noted that the federal government may provide funding but that many of the decisions to do with the project are made at the State and local levels.
- Many people expressed a concern that the first they heard about the project was when surveyors placed stakes on their property. These stakes are to be used for aerial surveys.
- Mr. Stanley stated that the Board of Supervisors has not been briefed on this project.
- Representative Brat suggested that the press hold a forum.
- By show of hands no one expressed support for the project, either through Ashland or on the west side.
Here are some additional thoughts.
The first phase of the project is divided into four stages. They are:
- Stage I Screening – Fatal Flaw
- Stage II Screening – Order of Magnitude Impacts
- Stage III Screening – Infrastructure Constraints
- Stage IV Screening – Area Options
Stage I includes ‘Draft Purpose and Need’ and ‘Alternatives’. It was during Stage I that many of the critical decisions, such as not to use the Buckingham Branch line or the I-95 corridor, were made.
Stage I is complete. However we have not received any documentation to do with the analyses and studies that were conducted (see Stage I Questions). We have been told what was decided; we have not been informed as to how it was decided.
According to the published schedule the project team is now working on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the draft of which is due for release in the third quarter of 2016.