Good to see taxpayer dollars put to good use

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 11, 2019

When ridiculing federal overspending has become almost a  national pastime, learning about the wise investment of federal tax dollars is good news, especially when those tax dollars are spent in the Miss-Lou.

Tuesday morning, the Natchez mayor and board of aldermen received an update on the improvements being made to the rail line between Brookhaven and Natchez.

Doug Davis of Natchez Railway, Inc. and project engineer Ed Landreth presented the update of the nearly $13.3 million project. Approximately $10 million of the funds came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program.

Email newsletter signup

The money allows for improvements to five railroad truss bridges, 25 wooden bridges, the replacement of two failing culverts and safety improvements to public road crossings.

Before the improvements, bridges failed to meet the industry standard of holding up at least 286,000 pounds.

The bridges were considered the weak link in the railway and could have potentially affected area efforts to attract and secure local industry.

During a recent bus tour of area industry projects, economic business leaders said efforts to retain the railway were critical to Genesis Energy, Delta Energy and many of the industries locating at the former International Paper Company site. 

Without the railway, economic development officials would be left with one less tool to attract future business and industry — a tool that would be gone forever if the railroad closed.

We applaud area leaders for pursuing the funding of this vital link to economic growth and the expansion of area jobs.

In our view, improvements to the Natchez Railway is money well spent.