District 1 Rail Traffic Evaluation Study Public Workshop #4 at the John Fuller Auditorium

Your Chamber staff attended public workshop no. 4 of the District One Rail Traffic Evaluation Study presented by the Florida Department of Transportation at Winter Haven City Hall last night. The purpose of these workshops is to identify potential projects, improvements or strategies to address community concerns related to rail services in Polk County. The Study focuses on identification of opportunities in three key areas:

  1. Impact Mitigation Strategies
  2. Freight Service Operations
  3. Passenger Alternatives. Last night’s meeting focused specifically on the projected costs of the eight proposed alternative freight routes. The numbers were grim.

The Chamber continues to work with the City of Lakeland to move legislation forward in the Florida House and Senate that supports relocating heavy rail traffic out of impacted urban centers, including Downtown Lakeland. Here is the link to last night’s presentation.


Chamber Opposes the USPS’ Proposed Consolidation of Lakeland’s P&D CENTER

Anu Saxena, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman,announced Wednesday the Chamber’s opposition to the USPS consolidation plans for the Lakeland Processing and Distribution Center. The Chamber, in a written letter to the Consumer Affairs Manager of the Suncoast District of the USPS, asked that the following points be taken into consideration:

  • Lakeland is located strategically between Tampa and Orlando on the I-4 corridor, a geographic super-region that is ranked seventh largest in the country and fifteenth in the world. Lakeland’s strategic location, with 8.5 million people living within a 100-mile radius of the city, should be considered an asset to the USPS as more individuals are projected to move into the region placing a greater burden on mail services.
  • What is the cost and service efficiency of collecting the 338 zip code mail in Lakeland and trucking it to Tampa? Once processed at the Tampa P&DC Center, this same mail will have to be trucked BACK to Lakeland and to further points in the 338 service area. This practice adds to increased truck traffic on an already stressed interstate system and results in consumption of excess fuel.
  • Lakeland’s P&DC has been recognized frequently as the top processing plant in the country. Why wouldn’t that level of service be utilized to its maximum capacity rather than forcing the Tampa facility to increase their overtime labor to handle the additional mail service?
  • The USPS also claims that local postmarks will continue to be available. This is true, but only if one physically takes his mail to a Post Office. The majority of our Chamber members are small business owners who do not have ample time in their day to drive mail to a post office, thus their mail will no longer bear the Lakeland postmark resulting in a loss of identity.

Every business in this country is enduring the same challenges the USPS faces: to identify cost-saving measures to keep their doors open without jeopardizing their most valuable asset, the customers they serve. While we commend the efforts of the USPS to improve operational efficiency and make more efficient use of Postal Service assets, we urge the USPS to consider the negative consequences of moving Lakeland’s First Class mail operations to Tampa.


Only 9 Seats Remain for Schmooze a’Palooza!

You’ll want to act fast to reserve your space for the first Schmooze a’Palooza event of 2009! On March 12, meet 50 of your closest Chamber member friends at Brima for “power networking the Chamber way”. Only 9 seats remain, so don’t delay… Register now!

March 2008 Schmooze at Brima


3131 Flightline Drive
(between the airport & GEICO off of Old Medulla)
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
$25 per ticket

Let us know if you have any questions: 863/688-8551 Ext. 229 or Email !

Schmooze Logo


Adam Putnam | The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and its Public Affairs Key Strategic Initiative hosted a presentation yesterday morning by Congressman Adam Putnam entitled “The American Recovery and  Reinvestment Act: How Will The Federal Stimulus Package Affect You and Your Business?”. 

Congressman Putnam presented a backdrop to the events leading up to our present day economic crisis and then commented on the who, what, when and where of the recently-passed economic stimulus package.  The in-person audience at the event, held at the City of Lakeland City Hall, was estimated at 120 while another 164 joined at least a portion of the presentation via the webcast.  Questions were offered by both audience members in person and via the webcast.

Thanks to Congressman Putnam for your willingness to meet with our Chamber members.

The presentation is also available for listening anytime  or view below.