This "Train Station" got $500,000 in 2001,
another $300,000 in 2002 while schools are being closed for lack of funding.
Bristol Trainstation 2022 Still Producing Nothing
Update September 2022: still empty. They spent over $500,000 in grants to lobby for AMTRAK. Nothing.
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. Seventeen years after this project, concocted as a way to spend government grants, it lacks trains and sits primarily empty and unused.
There are 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 job programs for the grant recipients and create 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 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Tobacco Commission, highway and road funds, etc., have produced nothing - the usual outcome of these projects.
While they scream that funding cuts will hurt projects like this, nobody would know the difference if the whole structure burned down.
Economic development and transportation funds were diverted 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 whose head person behind building it makes over $100,000 a year.
This waste 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) that their jobs announcements were projections.
They only 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 reported that the Bristol Trainstation, a project taking ten years at an ultimate cost to taxpayers of $6 million, would finally open.
For years projects such as this have been touted as "economic development" and have wasted billions of tax dollars and produced nothing.
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, with Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.
Return to Toots soon closed. There is no evidence they produced anything—another failure of the Tobacco Commission.
This "invitation only" party excluded white-trash residents. Residents in the nearby public housing project were ignored as always.
Return to Roots is another taxpayer-funded nonprofit. They encouraged the thousands of the region's former residents to return and take our many high-paying jobs.
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.
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