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Columns April 10, 2018  RSS feed

Letters to the Editor

The Buffalo Press encourages its readers to submit letters. We must reserve the right to edit for length or to not publish. However, every effort will be made to maintain the intent of the writer. We will publish almost all of letters to the editor.

Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer and not the editorial stance of The Buffalo Press.

An open letter to the Federal Railroad Administration from the Libertarian Candidate for the 17th Congressional District of Texas Peter Churchman

I would like to inform everyone at the Federal Railroad Administration of what is in the United States Constitution, and what is not in the Constitution. It is painfully obvious to me that either no one at the FRA has read the document that our government operates under or that they are deliberately disregarding constitutional law. In either case, I hope to be elected to be the Congressman for the 17th District so that I can put an end to this high speed rail project that the federal government has absolutely NO reason to be involved in.

The U.S. government has a very specific role outlined in our constitution. That role is defined in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government is not authorized to do any more than that. It is a very simple premise that our government can only do what it is authorized to do in the Constitution. Why is the Federal Railroad Administration doing things outside of the Constitution? I will speculate on what authority you think is authorized and tell you why you are wrong.

The Welfare Clause (Clause 1) says “the Congress shall have the power to lay and collect Taxes….for the common defence and General Welfare of the United State”. Some would like to argue that the high speed rail project proposed in Texas is for the General Welfare of the United States. They are wrong on two counts. The first reason is that an infrastructure project in Texas does not benefit someone in a different state, or even someone in the state of Texas that is far away from Dallas and Houston (remember, Texas is a BIG state). Second, President James Madison, the father of our Constitution, explained that the welfare clause was limited to what was in the expressed powers. Madison said, “With respect to the two words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.’ In other words the father of our Constitution said that the Welfare Clause only applied to the other clauses in the expressed powers and nothing more. It is not a means to write checks for anything that Congress wants to spend on, and it is the reason the Federal Railroad Administration had no business working on the Texas High Speed Rail Project.

The Commerce Clause (Clause 3) reads “ to regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations and among the Several States”. This expressed power only applies to things that cross state lines; it does not apply to the proposed high speed rail project in Texas because the project is wholly contained within one state. The Federal Railroad Association has no basis to use the Commerce Clause as a reason to oversee the Texas bullet train.

The Necessary and Proper Clause (Clause 18) “To make laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this constitution in the Government of the United States”; Clause 18 is often referred to as the “elastic clause” by people and agencies, like the Federal Railroad Administration, that want a bigger government. They are wrong. The important part of this clause is it is limited by the words “execution of the foregoing powers”. The FRA is operating outside of all of the foregoing powers listed in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, therefore the FRA is not constitutionally able to use Clause 18 to justify its actions in Texas.

Furthermore the high speed rail project is going to have to borrow money from the taxpayer that they will not be able to repay and use eminent domain to be able to build this railroad. The taxpayers should not have to pay for a failed business that will surely default on their government loans. Eminent domain is unethical, immoral, and wrong. Eminent domain is thievery. The Federal Government has no right to take land from property owners. Why does the public have to tell the bureaucrats this so often?

I hope to be elected by the people of District 17 in November so that I can stop bad projects like the High Speed Rail and rein in Federal spending and overreach. I can be contacted at peterchurchman@ Churchmanfor- Texas.com. “It’s time for a change”

Peter Churchman

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