April 03, 2008

Tampa Bay Business Journal wants your opinion

Railroad crossing: The CSX hub plan in Winter Haven

There’s been a lot of news lately on CSX Corp. and its effort to build a gigantic rail hub and warehouse in Winter Haven. CSX says the hub will employ 200 people. If a distribution center is built in a second phase, up to 1,800 warehouse jobs could follow. For some in Winter Haven and around the state, the project is seen as an economic slam-dunk that will help ensure the city’s long-term financial future and spin-off a ton of regional economic prosperity.

But the effort has been dogged by issues related to property acquisition cost increases, public trust and transparency throughout the process, and concerns over the impact of several more trains diverted through downtown Lakeland. Last week, a state House panel gave first approval to legal exposure limits that CSX Corp. wants as part of a $491 million deal to bring commuter rail to Central Florida. But even that element has been controversial.

Given all that has transpired on the project, the newspaper is interested in how readers feel about it now. Has your opinion about it changed in one way or another? Please be specific in comments.

Survey Question: Do you support CSX Corp.'s effort to build a giant logistics rail hub in Winter Haven? Submit your vote and comments here.

Any time now, the peep's gov will save us

TAMPA - With apologies to the late Curtis Mayfield, "People get ready, there's a shame a coming."

For despite the fact the CSX corporate welfare legislation is about as stinky a piece of political poo-poo-pa-doo to foul the air in Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature continues to chug along as willing handmaidens to do the choo-choo company's bidding.

And what a bid it is, too! If CSX gets its way, in a state facing a $3 billion budget shortfall your elected representatives are on the verge of awarding a secret, backroom, in the heart of darkness $649 million stocking stuffer to a corporation that ranks 261 on the Fortune 500 list of the top U.S. companies.

This is like a Katrina victim being expected to pick up the dinner tab for Bill Gates.

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