Paula Dockery’s Rail Editorial

On May 31, 2008 the Ledger published a letter from State Senator Paula Dockery on her views regarding commuter rail and the failed CSX deal.

Today, the Tampa Tribune published the same letter. But not quite the same letter. In the intervening days Dockery has changed a few sentences.

We’ll save you the trouble of comparing the two letters. Here are the major changes. (Minor word changes such as “FDOT” versus “The FDOT” aren’t included here.)

The skyrocketing cost of gasoline, coupled with the frustrating congestion along the Interstate 4 corridor, has made commuters’ patience grow thin, and understandably so. The people of Florida deserve an alternative to the crowded roads. — The Ledger

The skyrocketing cost of gasoline coupled with the frustrating congestion along the I-4 corridor have made commuters’ patience grow thin, and understandably so. The people of Florida deserve an alternative to the crowded roads, and a statewide commuter/passenger rail system has the potential to be an important part of a viable solution. — Tampa Tribune

Why not just have CSX retain ownership and let us pay the company the $2.5 million to $10 million to run commuter rail on its tracks? — Ledger

If this is a fair price to allow CSX to use our tracks for 12 hours a day, why not just have CSX retain ownership and let us pay them the $2.5 million to $10 million to run commuter rail on their tracks? – Tribune

If we are asking taxpayers to spend more than $1 billion and shift endless freight trains into neighboring communities, shouldn’t we make sure that people would actually utilize it in the first place? — Ledger

If we are asking taxpayers to spend more than $1 billion and shift endless freight trains into neighboring communities, shouldn’t we make sure that people would actually utilize it in the first place? Shouldn’t commuter rail stations be located at tourist attractions and the airport? — Tribune

CSX has been unwilling to budge on the issue of indemnity, the most potentially devastating price to the Florida taxpayer. CSX demands that Florida taxpayers pay the damages in accidents even when CSX is at fault. Even if a jury awards punitive damages intended to punish CSX for grossly negligent behavior, CSX wouldn’t have to pay — Florida taxpayers would. — Ledger

If all this failed to trigger the alarm bells, CSX has been unwilling to budge on the issue of indemnity, the most potentially devastating price to the Florida taxpayer. CSX demands that Florida taxpayers pay the damages in accidents even when CSX is at fault. Even if a jury awards punitive damages intended to punish CSX for grossly negligent behavior, CSX wouldn’t have to pay and be punished – Florida taxpayers would have to pick up the bill. — Tribune