Trains, rails and a whole lot of hot air.

I attended the Grassroots Greater Dayton meeting tonight. I find it amazing how every meeting of this organization draws a different crowd (I apologize for not telling my loyal readers in advance of this one). Each audience is different- focused on their own agendas, which is a big part of the reason that we have so many jurisdictions and organizations in this community- no big leaders, no big vision, and unfortunately- no action.
As always- I was late (5:30 meetings that aren’t paying me are hard for me to tear away from the office). This time it was only 20 minutes.
The room was packed- with a who’s who of the Dayton old guard. I’m not here to drop names- but, the movers and shakers behind the scenes were all there- as well as the entire 2007 Montgomery County Commission (no Chuck Curran wasn’t there).
The presentation by former MVRPC director Mike Robinette had the people convinced that this 80 million dollar light rail program was doable, and smart. The problem was that this isn’t the first plan, and probably won’t be the last. We seem to be great on planning and pathetic on implementation.
In fact one guest in attendance reminded us that the first rail plan was in 1896- that’s even before Judge Walter Rice (in attendance) started trying to be involved in things he should stay out of (at least until he starts clearing his docket faster).
I brought up my idea of building a high speed rail link between Middletown and Dayton instead of putting the money into both the Austin Road interchange and the Sinclair Community College Warren County campus- it seemed well received.
Others asked how do we get the ball rolling- and that is where the meeting failed, in my opinion- because there was no plan of action.
What it came down to was that the only people who seemingly hadn’t supported this light rail concept was the County Commission- and Commissioner Debbie Lieberman pledged to try to get the existing Commission to make their stands known.
That doesn’t exactly get this train on the tracks. We have to do better.
The fact is- building interchanges, more roads, more buildings is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. Einstein’s definition of insanity applies: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
We have to make some drastic changes in our thinking and our leadership- the question is who will be the leaders?
Any suggestions? Any takers?

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