Democrat Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reportedly wants to give disgraced rail company Norfolk Southern $15 million in taxpayer dollars even after it had two disastrous derailments this past month.
According to GOP Michigan Rep. James DeSana, as much as $15 million could go to the Norfolk Southern Railway Company out of a $750 million proposal in corporate welfare money from her administration. Per The Midwesterner:
The Whitmer administration has already given “$210 million in state incentives,” and “$772 million in tax abatements,” according to the Detroit News, for the project that couples Ford with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., or CATL, a communist Chinese-controlled company.
In a statement, DeSana said that the corporate welfare handout from Whitmer would be “particularly egregious” in light of Norfolk Southern’s recent disasters.
“Norfolk Southern has had two dangerous train derailments in the Midwest this month – one in Michigan and another that leaked hazardous chemicals that are still causing serious concerns for families in Ohio,” DeSana said. “Yet Gov. Whitmer is asking us to ignore all that and hand over taxpayer dollars to help Norfolk Southern grow in Michigan.”
Other Michigan Republicans agreed, including former gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon.
“Millions in MI taxpayer dollars should not be going to Norfolk Southern while investigations into the company’s two recent derailments – one resulting in an environmental crisis – are ongoing,” tweeted Dixon.
Millions in MI taxpayer dollars should not be going to Norfolk Southern while investigations into the company’s two recent derailments – one resulting in an environmental crisis – are ongoing. https://t.co/OehB9SsYdO
— Tudor Dixon (@TudorDixon) February 22, 2023
Likewise, Republican state Rep. Andrew Fink said no such funds should be given to Norfolk Western until a full investigation has taken place.
“Until a full investigation of the Norfolk Southern derailments in Ohio and Michigan is complete, I can’t believe we’re even discussing appropriating $15,000,000 to expand their operations in Michigan,” said Fink.
Republican state Rep. Jamie Thompson also said that Whitmer should hold up to her views on environmentalism before giving Norfolk Southern the money.
“Norfolk Southern needs to be clear about what happened and why this is happening. There needs to be accountability. The company needs to be transparent about what it’s doing to protect the public, address these issues and prevent future incidents before a single cent of our hard-earned tax dollars is handed over to help it grow its business in Michigan,” Thompson said.
Democrat Rep. Philip Skaggs, however, said that corporate welfare amounted to smart infrastructure spending.
“It is simply smart government to build the infrastructure around which private enterprise can thrive,” Skaggs said, as reported by Detroit News.
Norfolk Southern has been a center of controversy in recent days after a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, causing a spill of toxic chemicals. As Breitbart News reported:
More than 2,000 residents were evacuated due to health concerns over the chemical leak but have since been allowed to return.
State health officials were initially concerned about the presence of vinyl chloride, a highly volatile colorless gas produced for commercial uses which spilled in the accident.
Other toxins like hydrogen chloride were emitted in large plumes of smoke during a controlled release and burn, prompting officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders in a one-mile radius of the crash site.
Another of the substances released was phosgene, a gas deployed as a chemical weapon across First World War battlefields.
In the wake of that disaster, another train derailed in Van Buren Township, Michigan, that was operated by Norfolk Southern near Huron River Drive. Reportedly, no hazardous materials were spilled at the crash. Norfolk Southern told reporters that no injuries were reported and the tracks were damaged while wheels became disconnected from the cars.
Van Buren Twp. Police Dept./LOCAL NEWS X/TMX