Sunday, December 21, 2008

TRRAAC refutes propaganda, explains progress

I want to say how much I admire the work you are doing...

My sympathies and concern are with the residents of School Lane Hills, Barrcrest and the Farmingdale Road area, in regards to the unenviable situation (the Dillerville Rail Yard that F&M wants to put in their midst) in which they find themselves... For this reason, I check the website from time to time to learn about the latest developments. ...Today I found that new information had been posted.

I am forwarding this to you in case you have not seen it.

"On Fiday, December 5, 2008 Governor Ed Rendell publicly announced that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was awarding $10 million for the Rail Yard relocation project. This was not news. This was simply a confirmation of the fact that Lancaster General Hospital and Franklin and Marshall College acquired some funding from the State. Notwithstanding the Governor’s press release, NONE of these funds can be used to move the existing track. The only news was that it was made public in a manner that garnered a great deal of public attention.

"Does that mean that the rail yard relocation is now a “done deal”? Absolutely not! The fact that monies have been appropriated does not change the fact that TRRAAC is still working hard to speak with the project sponsors in an effort to change the proposed SITE of the relocation of the Dillerville rail yard. That has always been, and continues to be, TRRAAC’s sole mission: to find a site that meets the project’s goals without hindering the health and welfare of any residential community. We support the rail yard relocation in general terms.

"TRRAAC leadership has met with Lancaster General Hospital’s President and CEO Thomas Beeman, Jan Bergen and Bob Macina in an effort to find common ground and mutual understanding between LGH and the residential communities this site would affect. Meetings with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels are currently in the works, in an effort to make them aware of the ramifications of choosing the proposed site over other suitable sites.

"On the legal front, TRRAAC’s attorney, William Cluck, has filed a Notice of Appeal of the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s approval of the cleanup plan, for a number of reasons including inadequate opportunity for the public to review and comment on the cleanup plan, the failure to investigate the groundwater contamination on the F&M side of the rail tracks, and inadequate standards to clean up the asbestos containing materials.

"Regarding the environmental issues that arise because of the federal funds earmarked by Senators Casey and Specter, we are still awaiting notice and an opportunity to comment on noise, air quality, vibration and historic resource studies, so that we can independently evaluate the potential impact of the relocated rail yard on our families and properties. We have been filing freedom of information act requests with federal agencies to obtain information on the project and studies that the project partners refuse to release to the public.

" Thursday, December 11, 2008, PennDOT’s grant coordinator informed TRRAAC that PennDOT did not approve F&M’s request for an additional $9.2 million, because the project was neither ‘ready to go’ nor did it contribute the same level of economic development as other competing projects offered.

"We can only continue to support this cause through the work of the talented attorney and environmental engineer who have joined forces with TRRAAC. These two professionals are largely responsible for TRRAAC’s progress to date. In order to continue retaining the services of these consultants, we ask that every household affected by this site contribute generously.

"Please know that TRRAAC is comprised totally of volunteers who live in your neighborhood. We are not paid at all. We volunteer our time and contribute our own personal funds because we believe that another site exists that will fulfill the project goals without detriment to our communities.

"But we can no longer rely on a generous few to support our cause and our neighborhoods. We ask every household to contribute toward the collective welfare of our neighborhoods. Please give generously, as this may have a tremendous impact on our health, our children’s health, our quality of life and our home values for years to come."