Ware­houses cost more than they con­trib­ute

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE -

In ref­er­ence to the ware­house sprawl tak­ing over the Le­high Val­ley, I be­lieve there are three “ele­phants in the room”:

1. Our town­ships lead­ers have sold the soul of their en­vi­ron­men­tal beauty for the sake of easy de­vel­oper tax in­come and the prom­ise of a soon-to-be di­min­ish­ing num­ber of low-skilled jobs. Let’s not for­get the fact that many of those low-skilled work­ers can’t af­ford to live (and school their chil­dren) in those once-bu­colic sub­urbs, but live in the clos­est low-cost city.

2. The de­vel­op­ers, who rarely live in or near their “de­vel­op­ments,” some­times get tax in­cen­tives to erect th­ese ar­chi­tec­tural night­mares and then get the added bonus of off-load­ing most of the in­fras­truc­ture costs and/or in­fras­truc­ture degra­da­tion onto … oh I know, the tax­pay­ers.

3. As for the jobs cre­ated by th­ese ful­fill­ment cen­ters, I don’t ex­pect them to be long-lived. Some of the most ag­gres­sive ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ro­bot­ics re­search and de­vel­op­ment tar­gets ex­actly th­ese jobs. I sus­pect within 10 years, ware­house jobs will be re­duced by 50%.

While I agree that our sur­round­ing town­ships de­serve op­por­tu­ni­ties for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, I’d rather see them build­ing sci­ence and re­search cen­ters a la the “Re­search Tri­an­gle” in Durham, North Carolina.

And if you’re go­ing to spend my tax money on any­thing, here are two sug­ges­tions: Build more schools for poor kids and in­vest in light rail to con­nect peo­ple to their em­ploy­ment.

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