Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hunt County - Rails to Trails

Letter to the Greenville Herald Banner:

Why should I care about the Rails to Trails issue?
It doesn’t come through my property. I live on the other end of the county.  Well, if we don’t stand up for our neighbor’s freedom and God given rights who will stand up for ours when it’s our turn?

 I’ve heard people extolling the benefits of public access trails, but I wonder if those people have considered some of these issues.

1.      The land was deeded to the Railroad companies for a specific purpose.  When no longer needed by the railroad company the rights, ownership and control was supposed to revert BACK to the landowner whose property the rail line came through.  This is written in the original deeds.

2.      Rail Banking Act of 1983.  Just because the Federal government creates a scheme to give others the use of property taken by fraud doesn’t mean it’s lawful or legitimate.  Theft is still theft no matter who does it or how a “law” or “act” gets passed.  The railroad companies got to “write off” the “donation” of the land to the non-profit organizations to “use” until maybe the railroad companies wanted it back for future projects….

3.      Funding for projects such as these comes from our gasoline/hwy tax money.  10% is diverted for projects like this.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my gas tax burden lowered by 10% to use to pay for my gasoline and other necessities.  Or the money should be used for the highways, the original intent of the tax.

4.      The money is divvied out through agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife and TXDOT.  One stipulation is that if the project is opposed by the local political subdivision (the county commissioners’ court in this case, or a city council) the project will be denied funding.  So, there is something the county commissioners CAN do.  They like to say this is a federal issue and there is nothing they can do.  That just isn’t so.   

5.      Stopping this funding is the necessary first step to protecting the property of Hunt Co. residents and saving ALL of us money. 

6.      This is a cash cow for some powerfully connected folks and they will not be happy about the county opposing the project.

7.      So, let’s see which side our county commissioners take – will they protect the little guys or the powerfully connected who stand to lose millions? 

8.      Are the commissioners prepared to be personally liable if they do nothing to stop this and the property owners sue to regain proper control and ownership of their land? 

Don’t be swayed by the “possible economic benefits”, enriching our lives, promoting healthy lifestyles, etc.  This is land that BELONGS to your neighbors.  What right do you or anyone else have to hike, bike, or anything else on it without their permission?  What would you want your neighbor to do if you were in their position?  Come to your aid?  Stand up for your rights?  I hope so.  Let’s look out for each other. 

Debbie McKee

     Campbell, Texas

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