I was reading an article @ Mass Transit News' website and stumbled across an article about how California's planned HSR (High Speed Rail) corridor to San Fransisco is under fire from some of the people it is designed to serve....damn NIMBY's.
When I rant, I generally try to at least have a positive conclusion, or a solution instead of just talking about the problem with no answers. This time, a good old fashioned rant is what is in order. Let's just put things in perspective here for a minute. President Obama has initiated transportation funding the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades (if ever). California has been able to see a HUGE chunk of that money ($8 Billion). Other states would KILL for that much stimulus money to launch their own projects. The scale of this project is unprecedented, and will be a GIANT leap forward in developing our national transportation infrastructure. The project can provide a competitive and sustainable alternative to Californians who feel their only efficient travel options right now are cars or planes.
Apparently, just about everybody in California was on board for the project. Then...somebody made the HUGE mental leap that the right-of-way was going to have to go somewhere, and that somewhere was going to be near some homes. These homeowners people quickly forgot about all the benefits of the project and suddenly became the worst kind of people in my book, selfish Americans. A very specific kind of Selfish American, the NIMBY*.
The NIMBY is, in my mind, the greatest roadblock to progress in America. No public improvement can be made without a NIMBY raising a stink and using various arguments including my personal favorite: "I don't care about the greater good, what about my property value?"
Through years of exhaustive research I've been able to isolate two types of NIMBY:
The Direct NIMBY, and Indirect NIMBY.
The direct NIMBY is someone who would be more directly affected by a project, for example, a new light rail line that goes through their neighborhood and they do not want the construction hassle and noise associated with this new development A direct NIMBY is more the out of sight, out of mind, as long as the project doesn't immediately disrupt their happy little bubble, they will generally not complain too much about a project.
The indirect NIMBY is generally the more hard line of the two. The indirect NIMBY does not wish to expend any effort (including financial effort) to support any sort of project. Meaning, even if this new light rail line does not come within miles of the indirect NIMBY's house, this NIMBY is against it because they do not like light rail, and they see public money, and in turn their own money going to support this project, and that is just not right in their mind!
Of course, this posting is a pleasant mix of sarcasm , humor, and a dash of truth. Don't lose sight of the message , however. We as a nation are presented with a great opportunity, I can only hope we don't squander this opportunity for the greater good by bowing of the demands of a very vocal, and selfish minority.
*Disclaimer: I'm not ignorant to the fact that the government can screw people when working on projects that will require construction on or near some one's property. From a personal perspective, I have a co-worker who had the town she lived in offer her $1.00 (that's right, a dollar) for property damage associated with digging a new sewer line through her property. That's not where my concerns lie with property owners; I understand the concept of fairness. My concerns lie with people who really won't be losing that much (maybe they have to deal with a little more noise, or maybe their pretty views from the back deck will be obstructed) but are willing to hold up a huge project whose benefits for the greater good well outweigh the inconvenience to the minority.
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