61 Main Street
Proctor Vermont 05765
802 459 3311
fax 802 459 2125
January 11, 2001
Mr. John Kessler
Agency of Commerce & Community Development
National Life Building - Drawer 20
Dear Mr. Kessler:
Thank you for attending [word is circled, hand-written note: I didn't attend] OMYA's transportation brainstorming session on December 1st. I hope that you will look back on that afternoon and believe, as I do, that it was time well spent. Many good ideas came from the session.
Before coming to Vermont in May, I was President of OMYA California, OMYA Arizona and OMYA Quincy, Illinois. While out West I made it a priority to meet regularly with environmentalists, community leaders, and representatives from every area of government. Over the years we tackled many difficult problems. We learned that not every impact can be mitigated to the satisfaction of all concerned. However, we can come a long way by talking and collectively looking for solutions, such as the "Roll-Aid" idea that came from the brainstorming session on December 1st.
I am especially grateful to both the trucking and rail folks for your willingness to work together -- not as competitors but as community problems solvers. Your group produced the "Roll-Aid" idea that combines the flexibility of trucking and the efficiency of rail.
The "Common Vision" and the "Roll-Aid" groups identified tangible steps that could benefit both communities and companies. For example, the "Common Vision" group recommended researching the attitudes of decision-makers. Since the brainstorming session, we have been discussing the ideas with elected officials and business leaders. The initial discussions have been very positive. Much more research needs to be done in the business community. During January, we will be holding meetings with large employers in Rutland County to determine what other future transportation needs might be met by a "Roll-Aids" initiative. In addition, we plan to survey small and medium businesses in the region to determine their willingness to support a "Roll-Aid" solution. Parallel to the discussion with other businesses, we are having internal meetings to determine how we might quickly adapt our transportation plans to a "Roll-Aid" idea.
Should we find that a "common vision" is possible, both internally and within the community, we will begin to assemble a public private partnership to advance the Roll-aid initiative. With each conversation new ideas and roadblocks come forth. It appears we are building the foundation of a still evolving Route 7-corridor transportation plan. It will include many partners and require supportive legislation with adequate and timely funding if it is to be successful.
Many foundations throughout the region have a cornerstone of marble. Hopefully, we will be able to add our cornerstone to the stones that many of you have already laid in the transportation arena. Our plan at this time is to reassemble this brainstorming group in February for a briefing on our transportation studies, an update on partnership activities, and a tour of the plant.
I have attached the list of ideas from the brainstorming session, their ranking according to the votes cast, and a brief summary of the discussions from the two working groups.
Please don't hesitate to give me a call if you have additional suggestions: (802)770-7123.
Executive Vice President
Ideas listed in descending order according to votes:
16 Dual Phase Truck/Rail
16 Common Vision/economic benefit
10 Roll on Roll off
7 Upgrade Rail Line ABRB
4 Combining technology rail cable gas, mixed use
3 Change Act 250
3 Widen roads
2 By Pass
1 Moving the rail yard
1 Upgrade roads
1 Trucks with Steel Wheels (one illegal vote with a hanging chad)
0 Communities need to work together
0 Find a champion
0 Truck bypass
0 Business coalition
0 More efficient use of transport
The common themes of the brainstorming session included, increased use of rail and building a common vision within the public and private sectors that centered on a focused transportation solution.
Many of the ideas were subsets of the two largest themes. The attendees divided up into two groups to discuss each topic in more detail and outline an action plan.
Common Vision Summary
The premise of the Common Vision group was that local residents, business leaders, politicians, planners, and government officials do not share a common understanding of the area transportation problems, alternatives, and potential solutions. Until a common vision is shared, the community will not be able to embrace a workable solution.
-- Research and analyze existing transportation proposals and economic impact
Talk with business leaders
Survey Rutland area businesses
Job folks, such as livable wage people
Executive Branch of State Government
--Develop the message
Safety, Governor's Safety Council
Based around one transportation theme such as "Roll-Aid"
--Form a Partnership and maximize the winners, suggested partners include:
Federal, State and Local Government
Summary of "Roll-Aids" Plan
The premise of the Roll-Aids group was that Vermont Railway and LF Carter Trucking would work together to create a truck-to-rail system to move the stone gathered from the Jobe Phillips Quarry to Route 7 by truck and then up to the plant by rail. In order to use this method, we had to assume that a private road would be built between Jobe Phillips Quarry and Route 7. That is a large assumption, but if a path can be identified then this solution could be implemented relatively quickly. In the short term, this would be a captive (OMYA only) solution, but the long-term goal would be to open the system to other products that move along the Route 7 corridor.
Identify Stakeholders in Initial Captive plan:
State of Vermont (they own rails and highways -- gain revenue and save on highway maintenance costs)
Federal Government (open federal funding options)
If not a captive solution, other businesses might benefit:
Wood Products of all sorts (logs in particular)
Vermont Store Fixtures
U.S. Postal Service
Identify Potential Coalition Members
Towns who would potentially see a decrease in truck traffic
SLC South Wallingford Quarry
Vermont State AOT
Safety proponents (decrease in possibility of accidents)
Phil Standard (in Fair Haven -- tried to do something similar before)
Next Steps Required
Upgrade the rail beds
Determine state and federal commitment and get firm dollars committed
Research type of rolling stock required
Determine if containers or dumper trucks should be used
Complete cost/benefit analysis to determine best solution
Review similar systems in Canada and Europe
Questions to be investigated
How many train trips per day?
Impact on the plant (loading and unloading)?
Cost of rolling stock?
Weight and permit requirements?