September 23, 2007

Hubs and rubs in Central Florida

The hub: CSX Railroad wants to move its Orlando rail hub to Winter Haven.

The rub: The deal lacks transparency, public input and thorough, unbiased studies weighing the positive and negative consequences to Polk County and the region.
Since the announcement was made last August, CSX has remained mum on the project, showing no capacity for good public relations.

The secrecy leaves the impression that [ex-governor Jeb] Bush and the railroad failed to consider the negative effects on communities beyond Winter Haven. It's predicted that some 1,000 more tractor-trailer rigs will be added to Polk's highways each day, making traffic unmanageable.

Lakeland, for example, would see a significant increase in rail traffic through downtown. City leaders fear the traffic could damage the integrity of newly restored buildings. The same could be said about Plant City, Auburndale, Dade City and Lake Wales, since each are bisected by tracks.

Their questions deserve answers.

Among them: Why Winter Haven? Why can't the hub be moved farther south, where CSX owns phosphate tracks in a more rural part of Polk? Or why not locate the hub somewhere north of Interstate 4? How will the project's negative impacts be offset? And will the deal shut the door on commuter rail between Orlando and Tampa? - Tampa Tribune editorial, Sept. 19, 2007
See also . . . .


Chuck Welch said...

It's nice to see another Lakeland blogger write about this story.

For the backstory you can find links to everything I've found written on the hub at Polk County Rail Hub.

(Note: I'm about 2-3 weeks behind posting the latest links. I try to update at least once a month.)

Aikäne said...

Chuck, thanks for the attention that you have been giving to this issue.

CSX and those who stand to profit most from the WH hub were hoping to keep this under the radar until the public had no chance to stop it or to make adjustments to the project.

Latest example: Last night, Mr. Gernert scrubbed my second comment from the WH Chamber blog. It's the chamber's site, so they can do whatever they choose. Yet by his actions, it is obvious that the last thing they want is more public information and an open process.

Chuck Welch said...


I encourage you to post on your own blog anything you might have written elsewhere.


Aikäne said...

Chuck, I agree. Maybe after Wednesday's meeting with Tom Pelham.