The HRT Light Rail Boondoggle – Update

"We're over budget by $106 Million on a taxpayer-funded project. Quick, get me a mascot!"


To the Editors, Virginian-Pilot:
I have just been shown a flier advertising HRT Safety Day on April 29-30th, designed no doubt to educate the public about the perils of standing in the path of trains.
As many local residents may have already shared their disgust with this light-rail boondoggle, it almost feels like piling on to wonder just how much the ridiculous mascot set back the taxpayers. A cursory Google search reveals that mascots can be designed and constructed for the relative (well, relative to $106 million cost overruns) pittance of $2995.00. I would not be surprised to learn that the tritely-named “Safe-T” was purchased at a considerable markup. After all, it’s only money.
While almost certain to appeal to jaded teenagers (who have a well-documented respect for safety rules as conveyed by patronizing cartoon characters), I find myself wondering whether the messenger is too subtle for the unfortunate street urchins who roam the city unfettered by parental hand-holding and personal responsibility.
This new (and unnecessary) ambassador of the city looks to me to be grinning at some private joke at the expense of the citizens of Norfolk. Waste in small things is usually indicative of waste in larger things. In this case, we already know something of the scale of waste regarding this project. “Safe-T” is just the capering, flame-haired, plastic-foam incarnation of it.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention that I am firmly against the practice of allowing children to be pancaked by railcars, and I trust the HRT shares this sentiment. I simply doubt the efficacy of moronic mascots to communicate the policy.
Warmest Personal Regards,
Neal W. Dewing
Portsmouth, VA

I bet they won’t print this.


  1. Patrick Dewing says:

    Why do we need a man in a rubber suit to tell us to not stand on train tracks? I was under the assumption that people knew getting hit by a train was bad for their health.

  2. Steve says:

    If Obama worked for the Democrats why can’t this character work for Norfolk?

  3. Fra. David M. says:

    Did they print it?

  4. NealDewing says:

    Nope! But I did get caught on the news cameras looking at the train when they had their safety awareness day. So my image actually helped promote the damn thing.

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