Governor Bob Riley supports the $112 million project and says the concerns of residents can be addressed. Story at al.com
"This could have huge economic consequences for this entire part of the state," Riley said in an interview.
"I've met with the railroad and I've met with some of the people who live out there," Riley said. " I understand there is always going to be some things people are not going to support. To be honest with you, I've had more calls in support of it than I've had people against."
Riley said he believes the railroad can take action to calm the fears of the community.
"I not only understand their concerns, I have told the railroad that most of the concerns they've articulated I think could be resolved," Riley said.
Norfolk Southern has scheduled its own public meeting from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Bessemer Civic Center.
On a related note, McCalla resident Carl had a letter in The Western Tribune last week in which he outlined reasons not to build the hub. In it, he addressed my column from the previous week, which supported the hub. In it, I wrote:
"One hundred and fifty years ago, Tannehill Ironworks was an industrial site in the area. I assume that the ordinance and other products made for the Southern Army were distributed by trains. While not intermodal shipping in the current sense, it was early precedent for what is to come."
In his letter, he wrote:
First, for Openshaw's edification, Tannehill was truly an industrial site by 19th century standards. However, there was no railroad or large community surrounding the site. Material, namely pig iron, manufactured at Tannehill was transported by animal drawn conveyance to the rail head in Montevallo, thence to Selma.
My information came from the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
A foundry at Tannehill manufactured eating utensils, pots, and skillets for the Confederate Army, but most of the pig iron was sent by rail to the Selma Arsenal and Gun Works to be cast into munitions and iron plate for battle ships.
In addition the article explains that the first blast furnace at the site was built by ironmaster Moses Stroup, who built the first railroad iron in Georgia. And earlier than that, iron had begun to be manufactured at the Hillman Bloomery at the site. Daniel Hillman had been "enticed" to build at the site by Abner McGehee, a railroad investor from Montgomery. It seems that with that much railroad influence, a rail line might have been built to the site.
But whether the rail line came all the way to Tannehill or not, intermodal transport was occuring, and manufactured materials were transferred from wagon to train.
The article was written by James R. Bennett.
As for the concern about deisel fuel pollution from the trucks, if the people of Alabama, including the people of McCalla, had been concerned about air quality and how it affects their children, and shown some concern about the environment, they could have passed legislation similar to what California passed which will require old trucks to be replaced with cleaner trucks or to retrofit them with diesel exhaust traps and then everyone, not just the kids at McCalla, could have cleaner air.
And if they were really concerned about out state's air they would have been voicing their complaints against Alabama Power, which ran the number 1 power plant mercury emmitter (in 2007) in the nation (plus numbers 8, 25, 28). Read more about Alabama Power's dirty plants here.
Heck, the prevailing winds are going to blow all the pollution into Bessemer and Birmingham anyway. So for the kids at our Bessemer schools, as well as the ones at McAdory, lets clean up everyone's air.