Meanwhile... Back at the Ranch, TDX Reaches Critical Juncture - TransDominion Express


Meanwhile… Back at the Ranch, TDX Reaches Critical Juncture

TransDominion Express, Inc. received official notification as of January 5, 2006 that it had obtained status as a Nonstock Corporation. Up to this point, the Committee to Advance the TransDominion Express had been technically operating as a statewide ad hoc committee of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

TDX Committee meetings in August and September of 2005 generated agreement that TDX had reached critical mass and now requires a full-time, singularly focused director to accomplish the work needed to move the effort forward in real time. Staffing has been handled by Barbara Hartley, the group’s lobbyist, on loan part-time from the Lynchburg Regional Chamber.

The Committee, now Board, agreed to create a full-time position of Executive Director, and has subsequently publishing an updated Executive Summary (see page 3).

Additionally, there are some openings for Board members from the Northern Virginia and Richmond regions, which we are looking to fill as soon as possible.

The Board will be holding a half-day strategic planning retreat in late June to fine-tune realistic goals and time lines. Among identified needs are these:

  • The Board is seeking specific means to multiply the current operating budget to cover expenses of a full-time staff position.
  • With greater focused staff time, ongoing relationships with local, state, and federal legislators can be created and deepened for year-long active participation throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Increased active participation will ensue with Tennessee, North Carolina, and other states, working toward multi-state compacts and creation of viable federal freight and passenger rail policy.
  • We will coordinate work with several rail advocacy allies to put together and present long and short-range strategic plans, possibly working to use Rail Enhancement Fund distributions to leverage federal funding, exponentially increasing available monies.
  • We will prepare for successful creation of a TDX Rail Authority in the 2007 General Assembly Session.

Time is on our side as far as administrative commitment, planning, and relationship building goes. But, it can also work against us, closing windows of opportunity while we await brighter economic skies.

  • TDX representation must be constantly maintained through active participation on VDRPT’s various studies and panels. Although we are now working more closely with other rail proponents, there remains healthy competition for available funds and resources when prioritizing time lines at the VDRPT.
  • Relationships must be deepened with Norfolk Southern, CSX, AMTRAK and VRE to prevent further loss of rail and/or service.
  • We must actively advocate to create a reliable policy for AMTRAK, essential for the rebuilding of an updated passenger and freight rail system for our nation. Just as TDX is a component of the state rail plan, Virginia must also be a system component of a national rail plan. We therefore must expand advocacy on the national level.
  • Relationships and involvement with other transportation issues, including the I-81 corridor must be safeguarded and further developed as no transportation exists in a vacuum, and we have been greatly sensitized to the domino effect.
  • We have discovered surprising misunderstanding and misinformation among citizen groups and community planners regarding alternative transportation systems and their impact on environment and economic development. Therefore, we must continue to educate ourselves to rebroadcast accurate information for grassroots support and relationships, as well as public demand for the rapid deployment of the full TDX system.
  • TDX will assemble an updated business plan in the next few months, incorporating specific time-lines and identifying potential funding sources.
  • The TDX Board has concluded these action steps will not be possible without a full time Executive Director. Today’s increasing fuel costs make the timing of this even more critical.

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