To the editor:
Your catchy headline for Norfolk Southern railroads court win over Alexandrias city government, Whos the boss? Not the government, (July 1, 2010) might better be titled, Whos the boss? The federal government.
In the same way the federal government restricts zoning ordinances disallowing cell towers and imposes building height limits near Reagan National Airport, the federal government reserves the power to be the sole regulator of some modes of transport such as railroads.
But no one should be surprised at Alexandrias pricey pushback against federal rule. This latest installment is consistent with Alexandrias long record of pushing back against federal power since voting to secede from the Union in 1861, extending through sanctuary city Alexandrias more recent refusal to collaborate in immigration enforcement.
Now, Cameron Station folks should realize that ethanol, which most of them have all over their homes, in their medicine cabinets, liquor closets and even baking shelves (vanilla extract is preserved in ethanol), is less dangerous than gasoline. They might also realize that Norfolk Southern eventually donated a special fire truck to the city for fighting ethanol tank fires that can be used on other types of hazardous, flammable fuels and chemicals, too.
If City Hall were just a little more savvy, it would figure out that it could tax trucks using city streets to transport hazardous substances to addresses outside the city. If the transport tax were reasonable and not so narrow as to only apply to Norfolk Southerns ethanol trucks, the city could raise revenue without taxing residents.