This is all CSX, Jacob Stuart, Buddy Dyer, and the rest of the Orlando cabal need.
Their pet freight deal is already teetering on the edge of collapse, and now the Lakeland Chamber has decided, for some reason, to pick this particular moment to urgently back CSX and literally beg its members to pepper legislators with expressions of support. Well, you know what that means: Break out the champagne, my fellow deal opponents. If you’ve lived here for a while, you know that every Lakeland political imbroglio has its Chamber stage, the point at which the Chamber rushes in on the losing side.
In an e-mail sent Wednesday, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s Katie Daughtrey asked members to pressure lawmakers for passage of the bill.
“I am asking/begging everyone to contact the members of the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee and voice your support of SB 1212,” she wrote.
“Your email/call does not have to be long … as their offices get flooded with people calling/emailing they will just be counting communications either FOR or AGAINST the bill.”
Promise of money in the budget to study and plan alternate freight routes around Lakeland and the promise of commuter rail through Lakeland made it advantageous to support the bill, [Chamber President Kathleen Munson] said.
Promise? In the words of the great Inigo Montoya: I do not think that means what you think it means.
If you remember, at least one key senator – not to mention DOT – hated the previous Lakeland language, which sort of suggested that the state might build an alternative rail route if pigs flew and taxpayers coughed up something between $600 million and $1.2 billion. It was too strong and political. So a yet weaker compromise was reached. Except that this compromise language was “conceptual” last week and remained so as of Friday, according to Gow Fields. “Conceptual” is a fancy word for “doesn’t exist yet.” Thus, when Katie sent her email begging for help for CSX, the chamber had no way of knowing what language concerning Lakeland would actually get into the bill. It still doesn’t. But I hear through the grapevine that the compromise language actually calls for renaming the
A-line S-line the Lakeland Chamber Freight Superhighway. OK, so that last part is a joke, but one wonders if the Chamber would be flattered.