Another CSX Weekly Roundup

By now you know the drill. This is CSX news, fast and dirty:

The first three are from What’s Happening in Polk County, Dee Dee Chiavuzzi’s blog:

How many daily employees and employee trips in and out? (From the 8500 we first heard about to 200, now we are down to 75-110. The additional which add up to 200 are not employees but normal traffic in and out to run a complex, such as UPS drivers and mechanics to work on equipment.) — CSX DRI Meeting

State Representative Dennis Ross and State Senator Paula Dockery have secured a visit and meeting with FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos on Friday December 7, 2007 from 2pm – 4:30pm. — State FDOT Secretary Will Be In Lakeland

Tuesday afternoon from 2-8pm in Kissimmee, FL was a meeting with the Commission on Open Government……We spoke in length to some of the council members during the break and even they being from surrounding counties were not aware of the deal and we had just brought it to light for them. — Commission On Open Government

Ledger reporter Tom Palmer doesn’t seem to be still assigned to the CSX story, but he’s following it on his blog Polk Commission Watch:

Re: Texas rail trip, Will CSX meeting be anti-climactic?, More CSX huffing and puffing, Now, what do we talk about?, and How did CSX announce deal?.

The Orlando Sentinel covered the Nov. 30th agreement deadline:

Without the deal, which will be signed today, Central Florida would have to wait another year to apply for needed federal funds.

Mica noted that although he could not guarantee when the federal money would be awarded, the money from the Federal Transit Administration is “as certain as anything can be.”

Half of the $615 million system will be paid for by the federal government, 25 percent from the state and 25 percent from Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties and Orlando.

All five governments voted unanimously for the project earlier this year.

A separate $491 million agreement between CSX and the state of Florida covers several items, including the 61 miles of track, improvements to the freight line that will carry the extra freight traffic and several new or improved rail crossings in Alachua, Marion and Sumter counties. — Orlando-area commuter-rail deal means 2010 launch

Just when we thought the Ledger decided to simply reprint the Orlando Sentinel stories, Deal Reached for Commuter Rail System (11/30) they follow with a very good article from Rick Rousos, Rail Plan Pact Still Matter of Opinion (12/1):

An agreement reached this week between CSX and the state cements plans for the company’s rail transfer center in Winter Haven – or it doesn’t.

That depends who’s doing the talking.

It’s good to see the Tampa Tribune didn’t abandon the story altogether. Lindsay Peterson had an article this week on Lack Of Debate On CSX Rail Deal Riles Lawmakers. My favorite quote:

State Sen. Michael Bennett, a Bradenton Republican, led one of those committees, Community Affairs, and helped write the bill that eventually passed. He said he thought the transportation money in the bill was for road improvements. “Who the hell brought CSX to the dance?” he asked.

“These railroad companies are for-profit operations. Why is the state giving them money? What did the president of CSX make last year?”

I’ll take that one Senator Bennett. According to Forbes, CSX CEO Michael J. Ward received $23,810,000 in compensation.. He made the top 50 for CEO compensation, finishing just ahead of Rupert Murdoch. Ward placed #1 for Transportation CEOs though.

Speaking of finances…. Did you noticed CSX shares dropped 42.4 to 41 on Nov. 29th before the announcement? They’ve rebounded back to 42. I’m sure it had nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the deal deadline.

Another week with business as usual with the CSX story. More numbers. Less answers.