CSX Weakly Roundup

Yes, that title is correct. As my great uncle Larry used to say, “I feel weakly.”

So here is the late edition of the weekly CSX roundup:

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, said allowing more freight traffic on the “S” line will make it difficult in the future to use that line for a commuter service in the Tampa Bay region, similar to the Orlando project. Ross said the state needs to take a more “comprehensive” approach to developing rail service across the state.

“This unfortunately does it in such a piecemeal fashion that it adversely affects any plan for comprehensive rail, either freight or commuter, throughout the state,” Ross said. — Polk Lawmakers Rail Against CSX Project, Ledger

Under Fasano’s questioning, state Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos confirmed that the CSX agreement depends on the state giving its final approval for the expenditure. — Lawmakers: $491 Million CSX Rail Deal Isn’t Closed Yet, Lindsay Petterson, Tampa Tribune

“What most people don’t understand is that if the 61-mile commuter rail is built through the Orlando area to Poinciana, but CSX is allowed to run its additional freight through Lakeland and Plant City, then the hope of connecting Orlando and Tampa with commuter rail one day is impossible,” Ross said. — Bill Rufty, CSX Should Move South, Ross says.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, used the “A” word in describing the CSX corporation at the Florida Legislature on Thursday. Yep, that’s right. He called the officials who run the company “”arrogant.” — Bill Rufty, Oh For the Days of Seaboard

To anyone from Polk County hoping for one of 200 CSX jobs when the company finishes the initial section of its Winter Haven rail hub: Don’t hold your breath. — Rick Rousos, Working on the Railroad? Not Likely.

State Attorney Jerry Hill has turned down a request by Karl Pansler, a lawyer with an office in downtown Lakeland, to investigate the alleged secrecy surrounding the CSX-FDOT deal and state transportation officials’ unwillingness to answer questions about the project. — Tom N. Palmer, Hill:No CSX Probe

The governor should call for greater scrutiny of the rail package and an open discussion of other potential routes if he expects to persuade the residents of east Hillsborough and Polk that the CSX deal would be good for them, too — Tampa Tribune Editorial

Killebrew’s tenure at the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce has been one where the CSX project was often, and highly, touted on the Chamber’s blog. During that same time, Lakeland has always been a step or two behind finding out information from our legislature and state departments. Areas where you’d expect your lobbyist to be “in the know.” — Chuck Welch, Lakeland’s Lobbyist — Lakeland Local editorial

CSX spokesman Gary Cease said that company officials have been clear about their plans, and that while it was possible people in the community weren’t aware of the company’s negotiations with the state, he would be surprised. — Forbes.com

“We don’t want to kill commuter rail in Orlando. We just want the CSX deal scrutinized so it doesn’t prohibit future commuter rail in the west part of the state and concentrate trains and trucks in Lakeland,” said Julie Townsend, executive director of Downtown Lakeland Partnership, a marketing and economic development organization. — Daytona Beach News Journal

Legislators Dockery, Ross unhappy with freight-train reroute for Orlando commuter rail — Orlando Sentinel

Seth McKeel’s Dec. 12, 2007 letter to CSX’s Craig Camuso (pdf)

Others covering the CSX controversy this week:


Downtown Lakeland Partnership