Katy Trail donor joins lawsuit against Boonville MKT Bridge giveaway

According to a Columbia Tribune article:
A woman whose $2.2 million joint donation helped the state develop the Katy Trail wants to join lawsuits against the Department of Natural Resources to block a move she and other trail users say could threaten its future.

Pat Jones, the 80-year-old widow of investment company founder Edward "Ted" Jones, on Monday filed a legal motion to join Attorney General Jay Nixon and a St. Louis environmental group as a friend of the court in the lawsuits. . . .

Kurt Schaefer, deputy director and general counsel for DNR, said the agency has yet to determine whether it will file a motion opposing the attempt by Jones to join the case.

"Pat and the late Ted Jones have been wonderful benefactors for the state park system in general and the Katy Trail in particular," he said. "We would certainly look very seriously at Pat’s concerns."

Nixon filed a lawsuit against DNR in May, arguing that the deal with Union Pacific requires approval by legislators as well as the federal government. He also said it could open the door to legal challenges by other private property owners who gave up land for the trail. . . .

[Great Rivers Environmental Law Center attorney Bruce] Morrison called the involvement by Jones significant.

"When the primary donor of funds for the trail speaks out, I think she should be heard," he said.
The Missouri Bicycle Federation has also weighed into the lawsuit by asking to file as a friend of the court. MoBikeFed's concern is much the same as that of Pat Jones--the way the DNR has gone about dealing with the Boonville Bridge situation has created a break in the rail corridor that the Katy Trail is built on.

Creating a break in the rail corridor undermines the legal status of the entire trail that is built on the rail corridor.

Please note that is it NOT a break in the Katy Trail that creates a problem. Removing the Boonville Railroad Bridge will have no effect on the continuity of the Katy Trail, which crosses the Missouri River on a nearby highway bridge.

Rather, the legal threat is caused by the break in the underlying rail corridor and the right-of-way associated with it.

It would be possible to remove the Boonville Bridge while still keeping the underlying railroad right-of-way intact.

However, the DNR and Union Pacific have chosen not to do so. It is this act--creating a break in the railroad right-of-way--that opens the Katy Trail to legal attacks.