Transportation could put a dent in poverty

Trending last week were two terms: poverty and 2,000 jobs. Do they kind of bounce off one another?  We don’t want poverty, but we sure want jobs. Can’t do without a job, and we surely don’t want to live in poverty.

Poverty is a frightening sort of word. We’re afraid to become it, be a part of it, slide into it or be dupped into it. Most of us don’t want to deal with it; don’t look at it because we do know what to do with it.

Two-thousand jobs; now that’s something we can sink our teeth into. Work; lots of money; great business; an economic boost to Bermuda District and Chesterfield; talk about parity, the scale is most heavily leaning to the eastern part of the county.

Two-thousand jobs, that trumps Amazon; that trumps any employer in Chesterfield except Chesterfield’s administration. Although the cash cow will take a few years to come to fruition, 2,000 jobs is quite impressive.

I wonder how many employees will come from the west and northwest of the county. I wonder how large the parking lot will be for this new mega factory. Somehow I think the company from China will not need 2,000 spaces, because it is my experience that Hispanic workers car pool.

I worked as a construction manager years ago. Our best crews were Hispanic. They worked dawn to dusk and rode to work in the back of a pickup truck – the entire crew, one truck.  Summer and winter carpenters, roofers and drywallers would make it to work by car(truck)pooling.

Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., will be fully staffed by 2020, and along the way will employ those who will build the paper plant.

Three million dollars a year in real estate taxes plus a little piece of the payroll tax for Chesterfield. What a boon for the county. County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier was elated when he announced at a liaison meeting last week on Wednesday that deal had been done; the ink hardly dry on the contract.

Every development plan has a certain amount of proffers, promises made by both the company and the county. As in all big business developments, I’m sure the County offered to fast track the project. That means make the site plan and permit process a top priority.

What did Shandong offer? Big taxes of course, but did they offer workers access at Bellwood or Willis roads? Maybe. Did they offer any services for our residents, such as sidewalks from Jefferson Davis Highway back to the plant? Doubt it.

Do you think the grandest halleluiah Chesterfield has seen an offer to provide bus service along Jeff Davis to bring workers to their plant?

Do you think Chesterfield offered Shandong transportation for workers who live in the eastern part of the county?

Promises, promises. I have a feeling that economic ballyhoo and grant that former Governor McDonald and now Governor McAuliffe took part in did not provide for transportation.

Once again I call out for public transportation along Jefferson Davis Highway. Two-thousand workers at a $2 billion plant. We all know that there are paths to the grocery stores along JD, no sidewalk and a rough walk to the paper plant if someone doesn’t have transportation. I’ll bet Shandong has buses to their plants in China.

How much of the $3 million in real estate taxes would it cost to provide bus service to the industrial park where the paper plant will be located. How much would it cost to continue the route to Amazon and then down to the Walthall industrial plant. After all Bermuda provides most of the tax revenue in the County and yet get the same amount as the rest of the districts. We put up with the jobless rate, lack of services and poverty while the west benefits.

I’ll call out Supervisers, Dan Gecker, Midlothian District; Art Warren, Clover Hill District and Steve Elswick, whose Matoaca District reaches into the affluent western part of the County, to give up some of  their booty to raise up Bermuda and Dale districts. Parity among districts my butt; the east and the industry here supports most of the county, but takes the brunt of the lack of services that cause the poverty that no other Districts but Bermuda and part of Dale suffer.

But, oh no say some supervisors, we have tried van service for three years in the early 2000s and nobody road it. I’ll argue that project in front of the Supreme Court. There was absolutely no advertisement of the service or its route. No promotion of where it stopped, other than signs the size of a no parking sign and the route was doomed to failure from the start. Who wants to go to the Chesterfield Airport after all other than to eat at King’s Korner BBQ?

The supervisors at the time didn’t want bus service on JD. Some said it would bring “that element” to Chester. Can you really carry a flat screen TV onto a bus?

I call on Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., to consider this transportation issue and help convince Chesterfield and all supervisors to provide transportation where it’s needed, not an express bus down Midlothian Turnpike where everyone can get to work on their own. In fact, they could buy their own bus.


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