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High-speed rail plan threatens Raleigh business

Posted September 26, 2011

— Henry Vanpala has been working on cars for 26 years at Auto Shape in Raleigh. He has built his business and future through the shop at 908 Capital Blvd.

Now, his future is in danger because of a new plan to run a high-speed rail line through is property.

“I don’t know what I would do here because this is my business, my only source of income,” Vanpala said Monday.

The plan is part of a larger project by the state to build high-speed rail from Raleigh to Richmond, Va. The portion the state is working on now runs along Capital Boulevard from Whitaker Mill Road near Interstate 440 to downtown Raleigh.

Rail engineer Marc Hamel said three prior plans faced opposition, so the state went back to the drawing board.

“What we developed is an alternative that moves the railroad track toward Capital Boulevard and away from the neighborhoods. So, that should address a lot of people’s concerns,” Hamel said.

The new route will cost $20 million, but officials say the cost to buy properties impacted by the project will be lower.

Vanpala also owned property next to Auto Shape but sold it to the state so it can be used as a future rail office. He said he doesn’t know how the state will be able to fully compensate him for the loss of his business.

“I’ve kind of been respected that I am the downtown shop location,” Vanpala said. “If I move east or west or south, there are big body shops that are well, well established there.”

Train ridership increases as gas prices skyrocket High-speed rail plan threatens business

The new plan will be unveiled to the public Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. during an open-house meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center.

It will be at least two years before the plan is finalized, and no money has been set aside for the project.


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  • donkeypendergraph Sep 28, 2011

    another Bad Idea,From another bad idea!

  • donkeypendergraph Sep 28, 2011

    B.O.'s train!Yay!He's such a Hack!I would rather walk fast backwards!

  • burnstock99 Sep 28, 2011

    It's about investing in the future. If we want our children to have a better future then it is these types of forward looking projects that will provide them with the modern amenities found all over the world. The U.S. is playing catch-up with the rest of the developed world...wake up people! Look around the world and see how other societies have embraced high-speed rail; Europe, Japan, China! Driving our cars everywhere is certainly not a better option.

  • cwood3 Sep 28, 2011

    Show me a rail system that is self supporting, and I'll be all for it. However, it's not gonna happen!!

    When ridership is not high enough or revenue is too low, they will raise rates-typical liberal thinking. When Belk's or JC Penny want more business, do they raise prices?? Of course not, the lower them. When government beaurocrats(liberals mostly)run out of money, we all know what they do-raise taxes, raise rates, and get more money-to blow!! Oh-but the employees will be well paid, with very liberal benefits and work rules. Just look at another fiasco-the Postal Service!!

    Shezam, we'll have another rathole for tax dollars to get blown on!!

    If this venture could make money, it would be private. last time I checked, the US railroads got out of passenger business because they could not turn a profit! That's when Amtrack was born.

    Government does not belong in the rail business.

    Oh-the small business owners must be protected and taken care of-period.

  • lsr67 Sep 27, 2011

    There is a simple solution -- let the Taxpayers NOT the Politicians decide if we want high speed rail in NC. The answer will surely be no.

  • Vietnam Vet Sep 27, 2011

    Why do they insist on shoving a rail system down the taxpayer's throats, that nobody wants and certainly don't want to have to pay to subsidize and build?

  • Frank Downtown Sep 27, 2011

    I am sure they would pay for relocation. They do it with any highway project. We don't need another highway

  • nighttrain2010 Sep 27, 2011

    >>Henry Vanpala has been working on cars for 26 years at Auto Shape in Raleigh

    Well sorry Henry. We're not interested in capitalism and/or the free market. We're interested in choo-choo trains built at the taxpayer expense.

    From the first major railroad in this nation


    to Amtrak, most rail projects in this nation are making someone rich (most likely a politician) while taking away private property from its owners and burdening the taxpayer.

    Now get out of the way Henry. Shut your business, put some people out of actual work, we need our choo-choo and short term government jobs building it!!

  • chattycat Sep 27, 2011

    "i do not want to go to Richmond period, why is it going there. seems like a waste"

    Sorry you don't want to go to Richmond, it is a fabulous city and you are missing out! I am thrilled that we will have train service to Richmond and I will use it. Love to ride the train.

  • HowManyOunces Sep 27, 2011

    "i do not want to go to Richmond period, why is it going there. seems like a waste"

    There are a lot of jobs in eastern VA.