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Editorial: Crossing issue has a solution
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith said last week he does not know “how many times we beat our heads against a brick wall” to try and persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to approve a grading permit for the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.
We suggest a less dramatic and painful but hopefully more fruitful approach.
Local, state and congressional representatives all agree that the corps’ decision to deny a permit because there is no industry committed to the business park defies logic. It has created a “Catch-22” situation — there is no industry because the land is not graded, and it is not graded because there is no industry.
This merry-go-round has gone on for months, and it is time to get off.
It seems to us that one person can make this happen: President Obama. And there is one person who truly understands what this business park can mean to this area and who also has the president’s ear: Sen. Tim Kaine. He formerly headed the Democratic National Committee, was an early supporter of Obama when he first began his 2008 bid for the White House and was on the short list for Obama’s vice president before Joe Biden was chosen.
Kaine also has been a friend to this area. He has been here numerous times and especially championed the New College Institute and efforts to turn around the local economy. He knows what we have lost, and he knows the impact a large, well-situated industrial park could have. And when he ran for Senate last fall, Kaine said he would be “definitely willing to help” cut through the red tape so grading could proceed.
We suggest Sen. Kaine take this matter to the president who, as a candidate in 2008, promised to think about people here every day when he awoke in the White House. Perhaps if the president’s memory was jogged a bit and he became aware of the how the corps is standing in the way of a community trying to help itself, he would step up, “ask” the corps to re-examine its decision and sign the permit. It is less a matter of asking for a favor as it is removing a federal roadblock that defies common sense.
We suspect local officials would be happy to invite both the president and senator to a ceremony and “photo op” to kick off the grading.