This Week’s Polk County Rail Hub Update

I like habits. Maybe it is because I’m getting old, but I like depending on things. So, starting today, Sunday on Lakeland Local will include “This Week’s Polk County Rail Hub Update.”

And here we go….

Orlando Train Transfer To Impact Bay Area Counties is yet another “Billy Townsend is on the ball” story. The gist of the story is about a 2002 paper that discussed moving Orlando’s freight train traffic to improve the city’s traffic woes. The key paragraphs of this piece are:

The Orlando rail plan was never brought before the Legislature for hearings. No state transportation official can explain why the S-line cities and the ‘social implications’ were never included in the process.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who has met with CSX to discuss the plan, has not accepted invitations to talk with critics of the deal in the S-line cities. And he has yet to make a public statement on the merits of the plan after repeated requests from The Tampa Tribune.

And….

And more trains are coming under the deal. CSX refers to it’s A- and S-lines as ‘our I-95 and I-75.’ The rail deal and new hub essentially would merge those lines into a single freight superhighway that would run through the heart of Lakeland.

Over at the Polk County Ledger, writer Jeremy Maready presents us with an interrobang of an article; one of those that make you say “What?!”

In Chamber Critical of CSX Project we get the news that the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is not against the Polk County Rail Hub. Yes, the headline makes it appear the chamber is suddenly against the project, but a sidebar clarifies the issue. Seriously, the article is about the chamber taking ownership of the fence on this issue:

“While the ILC project will have a positive economic impact on Winter Haven and the entire county, Lakeland and other county municipalities will see a major negative impact from the increase in freight traffic and congestion of our roads,” Munson wrote in the newsletter.

In other words, everyone gets the shaft so a few can make some cash. How can we not jump to join that bandwagon?

Another paragraph continues with the same misdirection we’ve heard before:

The chamber has proposed a short term plan for the development of Quiet Zones through the downtown residential corridor and, in the long term, the possibility of rerouting some of the train traffic in the area.

People, this isn’t a noise issue. And yes, I live one mile from downtown. I hear the trains as they come through during the dead of night. During the day, never. However, during the day we are all seriously affected by the traffic issues.

Let’s not waste money on the “Quiet Zones” and jump right into rerouting train traffic. I propose a paper entitled: Why Can’t We Solve Lakeland’s Traffic Congestion Problems By Moving the Freight Trains?