Letter Writer Defends Subsidy for Roanoke Amtrak Service.

The city of Roanoke in southwestern Virginia hasn’t had train service since 1979. Amtrak will get you there, but the last hour and a half is on a bus from Lynchburg. Well, it may take another 2-3 years, but it really looks like Roanoke will be getting its train back. The Commonwealth of Virginia is going to come up with $600,000 to provide a new station and nearly $200,000 more to make sure the 52 miles of track from Lynchburg will be able to handle passenger trains.

You’d think everyone in Roanoke would be pleased about that, but no … a recent editorial in the Roanoke Times complained about the tax dollars being used and sarcastically suggested that the train serving Roanoke should be named the Taxpayer Express. 

In response, the following letter-to-the-editor appeared and it is my distinct pleasure to reprint it here:

As a frequent rider on Amtrak, I would be quite happy if any passenger train serving Roanoke were to be named the “Taxpayer Express.” I have, after all, communicated with numerous senators and congressmen over the years, urging them to allocate less money to highways and aviation, and more money to Amtrak.

Furthermore, Amtrak appears to have survived yet another round of attempts by Republicans to defund it completely.

Taxpayer Express, however, falls so sweetly upon the ears that it suggests other naming possibilities. Interstate 81, for example, could very appropriately be named the Taxpayer Turnpike. The main building at the Roanoke Regional Airport would have a much stronger identity if it were called the Taxpayer Terminal.

And the GPS system that has eliminated the need to ask for directions; isn’t it really a TPS system? Those satellites didn’t get up there for free. Neither, for that matter, did the weather satellites that allow us to keep track of hurricanes. Shouldn’t the National Weather Service be renamed the Taxpayer Weather Service?

These new names might serve as useful reminders that taxpayers and the taxes they pay are what make life as we know it in America possible.

EDWARD S. STONE

Thank you, Mr. Stone. You absolutely nailed it, sir!