This "Train Station" got $500,000 in 2001,
another $300,000 in 2002 while schools are being closed for lack of funding.
Bristol Trainstation 2017 Still Producing Nothing
Update June 2017.
On Sunday May 21, 2017 the Bristol Trainstation held a 4-hour celebration for the whole family! Face painting! Model trains! And even a presentation from our $12-$15 million Country Music Museum from down the street paid for mainly by public dollars. 17 years after this project was concocted as a way to spend government grants lacks trains and sits mostly empty and unused.
There's little doubt government efforts at economic development in this region are a failure and my concern is the squandering and continuing waste of government grants. The grants are a jobs programs for the grant recipients and creates nothing for the average person. Bristol Virginia is getting ready to spend $450,000 to do another "study" to get Amtrak to come to Bristol - jobs for consultants.
Their argument is using the old Bristol Trainstation taxpayers spent $6 million to rebuild 15 years ago - it still sits empty. In both cases the money spent came from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Tobacco Commission, highway and road funds, etc. have produced nothing - that is the usual outcome of these projects.
While they scream about funding cuts will hurt projects such as this, nobody would know the difference if the whole structure burned down.
In another case economic development and transportation funds were hijacked to build a library in an affluent retirement community. $18 million in grants went for the Artisan Center in Abingdon Virginia - a fancy place to hand out tourism literature and whose head person that was behind building it makes over $100,000 a year. Not bad in a community with a median income of around $34,000. I've listed dozens of these projects over the years in the links below and while they claim this is job creation they refuse to provide evidence.
I created a firestorm several years ago when I caught them in lies on this issue. They had to retract (in the case of VCEDA) their jobs announcements were projections only then claimed they didn't track job numbers or pay rates after handing out millions in grants for job creation - corporate welfare.
- Bristol Trainstation Finally Opens Producing Nothing
- History of the Bristol Trainstation
- Millions in Government Waste on the Bristol Trainstation
- Virginia Politicians and Highway Pork
- Congressman Rick Boucher Supports Earmarks
- Bristol Trainstation Fiasco
On September 18, 2008 the local press reports that the Bristol Trainstation, a project taking ten years at an ultimate cost to taxpayers of $6 million, will finally open. (Page A1.) On page A2 we have "Nightmare on Wall Street" as the stock market continues to crash and McCain/Obama continue their childish finger pointing.
For years projects such as this have been touted as "economic development" have wasted billions of tax dollars and produce nothing. The Trainstation Foundation (the pseudo non-profit that owns this thing) claims to be talking to lots of people interested in renting this its 3000 square foot hall (or 1600 square foot second floor) for parties, weddings, and mud wrestling contests.
It seems they don't expect much business as the press reports they have set aside $400,000 to cover operating costs. They claim to have 20 events booked for the coming months.
One event sure to fire Bristol up is the "Return to Roots" gala on September 19 feathering Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. This is an "invitation only" party and common white-trash residents and the folks in the nearby public housing project are barred from the event.
Return to Roots is another taxpayer funded pseudo-agency that encourages the thousands of the regions former residents to return and take our many high paying jobs in the region. The only problem is their website only lists what the Employment Commission lists such as local school systems that aren't hiring.
There is an effort to force the taxpayers to fund passenger rail to Bristol, but lack of funds and no demand make this unlikely. But if they ever do, Bristol stands ready.
- Grundy, Virginia and the $200 million Bridge to Nowhere
- Barter Theater goes naked
- Travelocity Debacle