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.See also . . . .
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
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