Letter to the Editor

Your view: Keep the tracks

Monday, September 13, 2004

I read with great interest the article and letter on the removing of the railroad spur. I agree with Mr. Harper's opinion - we cannot afford to lose this mode of transportation in our city. I have been in the transportation business for the last 18 years and have watched our community lose business after business.

We have replaced most of those factory jobs with low paying fast-food restaurant jobs or other similar positions. I agree 100 percent with Mr. Harper. The city should get on the proverbial bandwagon and do whatever is needed to prevent the closing of the rail spur. There are few factories left in our city and the loss of this mode of transportation to the Tetra Pak site would greatly reduce their chances of competing in future markets with their product.

Mike, this should have been front page news in July when Union Pacific notified us of their intentions. Surely we are not going to stand by and lose around 120 jobs. If we look at our past history in attracting new industry, we don't have much to look forward to in the next 20 years. Does the city think the addition of a new Walgreens is going to be a big asset to our city? Is that type of business going to replace the good jobs at Tetra Pak? I think not.

Some of the comments of our city officials have concerned me. When did the railroad begin being an inconvenience to the people of Sikeston? The tracks are there for a reason. They helped build this city. If we can find no other excuse to give, we are well on our way to being a lost cause. Our community has had trains running through it before most of us were even born. Our emergency vehicles, etc., have always gotten the job done. Why has this become such a concern now? It is an excuse.

The comment made by the mayor about the whistle blowing was ridiculous. I have known the man for years and I like our mayor, but if you don't want to hear the whistle blow, then you don't build or purchase a home close to the tracks. They are pretty easy to spot. We have to remember those tracks connect all of the United States together. We need those tracks to ensure another local business does not close. Everyone in our community should do whatever possible to ensure the tracks are not abandoned. If they are, don't be surprised if the city is not shortly thereafter abandoned by Tetra Pak.

Phil Puckett