By Tommy Reynolds
One of the major reasons that I wanted to go into public service was to try to bring people together to accomplish goals for our area. One of the primary goals that I have is to make every effort possible to assure that our railway line stretching from Memphis to Canton (the Old Illinois Central rail line) is not abandoned, but is instead improved for further generations of service.
Last week, I believe that the effort to keep our rail line, which runs through Yalobusha, Tallahatchie and Grenada Counties, among others, was enhanced when representatives from all along the line from DeSoto County to Madison County met on Thursday afternoon following adjournment of the House. We agreed to introduce legislation that might be necessary or helpful in preserving our rail line.
Among those attending in addition to myself and others was Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and he pointed out that his district includes part of Madison County. I suggested that the authors of the proposed legislation include all affected representatives.
In recapping what has occurred, the Grenada Railway was attempting to abandon initially a 77-mile chunk of the railway from the Grenada County line south to Canton. I strongly opposed this abandonment as breaking the line would make the line much less usable and require all traffic to flow north for all time, rather than be allowed to go north or south, depending on efficiency.
In addition, meetings have been held with executive branch officials, and a coordinated effort to save the railway is being attempted. It will require close cooperation of the legislative and executive branches to accomplish this goal. We all represent the same state and the same people, and it is important that we never forget this fact.
I have been appointed to the House Select Committee on Railway Development and serve on the Ways and Means Committee. If legislation is necessary to save the railway, I believe that both of these committees will be involved with the progress of the legislation.
I am a strong supporter and co-sponsor of House Bill 127, which would establish the Main Street Investment Act. This program would authorize a source of assistance for municipalities of less than 20,000 population to revitalize their downtown areas. The program would be administered by the Mississippi Development Authority and could be another tool in the arsenal to promote business and economic development in our small towns across the state.
I think that we need to do what we can to assist local businesses that are attempting to create jobs and commerce across this state in our small towns. Preser-vation, renovation and revitalization of our small towns is necessary if our state is to truly progress.
A similar bill passed the House of Representatives last year, and it is my hope that this measure can make it all the way through the legislative process this year.
Please feel free to contact me at my home at 1720 N. Main Street, Water Valley, MS 38965, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (662) 473-2571.
I look forward to hearing from you on any issue that you may have.