Friday, March 23, 2007

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Funding Still Lopsided

According to a news story in the Pueblo Chieftain, funding for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic line from Colorado is painfully low.
...the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad won't see the $1.35 million it wanted to cover track rehabilitation costs, but it will get $80,000 to rehabilitate its car shop and engine house.
This is unfortunate, but not without its own causes. Wade Hall on the Narrow Gauge Railroad Discussion Forum offered this as part of his insightful commentary on the situation:
Out of the 100 Colorado legislators, about 13 hail from rural Colorado. Time was when that numerical disadvantage was somewhat overcome by many of the legislative leadership positions being held by rural legislators. Those days are gone. Add to that Colorado's budget inflexibility imposed partly by TABOR, and it's not hard to see why securing Colorado funding for the C&TS is such a challenge. The Front Range effectively controls the budget--and will continue to do [so].
While this certainly is a possibility, Nathan D. Holmes of states,
For those of you in Colorado, remember that if you want to see money for the C&TS, you need to make it known to your legislators. Like any good politician, they'll pay attention if enough people make enough noise about an issue. If you're not happy with the way the budget came out this year, writing them isn't a bad idea...
It certainly couldn't hurt the chances of the C&TS to do so. It could be that as long as the Colorado legislature pretends to fund what it owns, the C&TS will likely pretend to work. While New Mexico continues to fund the railroad it jointly owns, Colorado, for all the opulence of its natural beauty, fails to own up to its fiscal end of the bargain despite its joint ownership.


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