Lawyers Continue Rolling in Taxpayer Dollars
You can’t really give away something that doesn’t belong to you especially if the "recipient" is its rightful owner! While it may seem like common sense for most people, Attorney General Jay Nixon apparently has trouble grasping this simple idea. Instead, he continues to insist that the Department of Natural Resources is nefariously giving Union Pacific Railroad a sweetheart deal just by allowing the company to do what it wants with its own property.
The bridge at the heart of the lawsuit belongs to Union Pacific Railroad, which purchased it from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 2004. The dispute has come about because in 1987 MKT reached an agreement with the state that gave the DNR nearly 200 miles of right-of-way for use by the Katy Trail project. That agreement specifically excluded the Booneville lift bridge, although the state was given assurances that the railroad would not modify the bridge in such a way that the Katy Trail would be disrupted.
Since that agreement was reached, the DNR has decided not to use the bridge for trail purposes, and the bridge is currently not being used by anyone at all. To make absolutely certain that the DNR’s intentions were clear, and to guarantee that the railroad had no further duty to maintain the bridge for trail purposes, the DNR officially released and permanently waived any rights it might have had to use the bridge.
The attorney general’s misguided lawsuit, which has already cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, basically claims that the DNR has no authority to say that it isn’t interested in using the bridge. Nixon wants to force the DNR against its avowed desires to claim a right to keep using the bridge even though it does not fit into their plans for the Katy Trail.
The bottom line is that Union Pacific, the rightful owner of the bridge, now wants to make use of its raw materials for another bridge and Nixon should be ashamed for using taxpayer dollars in his personal quest to prevent them from doing so.