March 31, 2008

More Florida newspapers oppose CSX deal

Tampa Tribune: 'Secret deal for CSX hub lays bare shady practices at DOT'
Just when you thought the state's secret deal with CSX Transportation could not smell worse, more pollution comes flowing from Tallahassee. [....]

It's time for Crist to pull this contract and renegotiate it on behalf of all Floridians. Crist's silence is unbecoming for a governor who says he believes in transparency.

Gainseville Sun: 'CSX pot gets sweeter'
It was sinful that some in state government brokered this huge piece of corporate welfare in the shadows outside of the view of the public or most legislators. But what makes the state's arrangement with CSX even more outrageous is that taxpayers would be on the hook for paying damages related to an accident caused by anyone using the 61-mile commuter line, including CSX and its employees.

St. Pete Times: 'Put brakes on rail project in Orlando'
There is a legitimate state interest in bringing commuter rail to the Orlando area. But the cost and the route have to be right, the impacts have to be reasonable and the public has to have the opportunity to shape this instrument of growth in the region. The Legislature should slow down and demand more answers before moving ahead with CSX.

Ledger: 'The tale of two states'
While many legislators in Tallahassee are rolling over for CSX, those in Massachusetts are asking some hard questions. Rep. Robert P. Spellane, said CSX wanted "the taxpayer to assume all liability, regardless of fault, which to me is just fundamentally wrong."

Polk County Democrat: 'Subsidy to CSX is needed in other places'
We think the Legislature needs to devote a lot more study, and let a lot more Florida Sunshine focus on this proposal. As a minimum, we think this is a project that the state, in its current financial condition, cannot afford. If it’s a great idea this year, it will still be a great idea next year. And by then, perhaps its greatness would pass muster with the taxpayers.

Ocala Star-Banner: 'A capital railroad job'
It is shameful that our former governor and our lawmakers, notably state Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, allowed this deal to be tip-toed through the Legislature without any conversation.

Shame on the architects of the CSX deal. The people got railroaded on this one.

Palm Beach Post: 'Block railway bailout'
The sweetheart deal that the Florida Department of Transportation negotiated behind the scenes last year and signed with CSX Corp. would give even the term "corporate welfare" a bad name.

Everything about this deal is wrong for the state, which is why Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink opposes it. To make things worse, state transportation officials signed a confidentiality agreement as they were negotiating it, then tucked the deal into a larger bill.

On Tuesday, Gov. Crist held a media event to praise Sunshine Week, the celebration of the state's open-records and open-meetings laws. If he's true to that sentiment, the governor also will reject a deal - if it gets to his desk - that excessively subsidizes a private company and puts the public on the hook for that company's wrongdoing. This trade-off doesn't work for Florida.

  • This list of editorials was compiled by Julie Townsend, Downtown Lakeland Partnership.
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