Live Blogging Paula Dockery’s Address to the City Commissioners

The presentation was Monday November 3rd at the normal Lakeland City Commissioner’s Meeting.

You can see the video online or on LGN at 6pm tonight and various other times.

I have Senator Dockery’s slideshow at the end of the live blogging post.

(Refresh this page to see updates) Update: The Powerpoint presentation is at the end of this post.

Note: You can see the presentation when the commission meeting is rebroadcast on the city cable channel. I’ll add the link and channel later today.

Senator Paula Dockery addresses the City Commissioners.

She first speaks of the cost of the project.

She said they are “not” relocating the Taft Rail yard, but are actually opening a new rail yard. (The ILC in Winter Haven.)

Her total: $1,491,000,000 taxpayer dollars to have commuter rail on 61.5 miles of CSX track. The company also wants to double track A line in Orlando to allow freight to run 24-hours a day.

She addresses that history of her work since May 2007 investigating the CSX and commuter rail issues.

Dennis Ross addresses the liability issue.

Dockery reads the liability language and explains some negotiation with CSX regarding the liability issue. (If CSX had accepted Dockery’s plan, would the deal have been finalized?)

Dockery doesn’t anticipate that there will be a special session on the CSX project.

Dockery ntroces information about the recently passed Federal law : HR 2095 Railroad Safety Enhancement Act.

Dockery says she believes the bill proves that Sen. Mica is wrong to say rail money will dry up if not spent this year.

Ross speaks of Amtrak and that company must charge no more than direct cost. That the rail company could also provide inner-city rail.

Dockery speaks of her work on a Fed committee this summer that addresses the issues. “Most of the activity on the Federal level.”

TriRail in South Florida still doesn’t have a dedicated funding source.

The ILC and the 9 million for the road is being paid by bonded dollars and other communities are not happy paying interest on those bonds.

She mentions she would have hoped the City of Winter Haven would have gotten together with the City of Lakeland.

She doesn’t see a spirit of cooperation from Winter Haven and Orlando.

Her chart shows the majority of the money for the project goes to freight needs — “a freight subsidy.”

She wants to know why they can’t split the project.

“On the s-line right now they can add 9 trains”

The improvements would allow 54 trains on the line.

If they can add 9 trains why do they need to upgrade the tracks for “only 4 more trains?”

We want a win-win situation for everybody.

Why pay 2005 prices in today’s market

Taxable value of the 61.5 milles is 22 million

CSX is in litigation with FDOR over 22 million taxable value. — CSX claims it is too much.

Ross says CSX will win, but the project needs to be made so everyone can win.

Dockery: “This is not a good deal for the taxpayers of the State of Florida.”

In 2002, TriRail had liability issues added as a small paragraph in a large bill. The language does not match what CSX wants for the proposed Central Florida project.

The only thing holding up this whole deal is they can not get the liability language they want through the legislature.

Doug Thomas, City Manager, said they will have a number in December to see how much it would cost to move the rail in lakeland.

Dockery says the Van Fleet Trail wouldn’t be a good path.

She says they don’t want to bother other communities to fix Lakeland’s problem.

City Attorney Tim McCausland speaks of the legal aspects of the current situation. “The where we are speech.”

Commissioner Howard Wiggs explains that “it seems to me we are not wasting taxpayers money” to

Dockery on ILC: “I think in my humble opinion the location is problematic.”

Dockery: We’re all smart enough people to know that once phase one was in there is no stopping phase two. (paraphrase)

Dockery: The only ridership study they have shows only 4500 passengers per day.

Re: Dockery’s poll: Less than 40% of the people in Orlando want the project.

Mayor Fletcher asks if the Orlando populace know what the project will cost them in seven years.

By law: The state can take that track.

I blame the FDOT for spending Florida taxpayer dollars without legislative oversight.(paraphrase)

Wiggs: On what the city has actually asked for.

Wiggs: It’s a good expenditure of money statewide.

Dockery: Discusses the current communication with Orlando

Dockery: The real story here is that FDOT needs serious reform.

“They’re planning another deal just like this.” (FDOT)

Ross: The 2006 Vision plan didn’t discuss commuter rail.

Commissioner Gow Fields: We’ve always been told in private meetings this was about moving freight.

Fields speaks the fight. Do we help the state come up with a plan to connect city centers.

Or does the city of Lakeland keep fighting Winter Haven?

Dockery: The combination of the improvements to the S-Line and the ILC that is causing the problems in Lakeland.

Dockery cautions that it doesn’t make sense to take the frieght traffic west of Lakeland and than bring it back east through Lakeland into Winter Haven.

The two communities getting hit the hardest are Lakeland and Plant City and why were neither of those cities brought to the table?

Fields: Thinks that Lakeland should be arguing with Tallhassee (FDOT) and not Winter Haven.

Fields on Winter Haven: They were included in the secrecy of the deal and they didn’t bother telling anyone else.

Dockery is not sure CSX would do the ILC project and related issues if the state doesn’t give them the money.

Ross: We are now being pitted against a local community when the problem resides with FDOT.

Dockery: thinks that they may get more allies from the panhandle area.

Wiggs: Our battle should not be with Winter Haven.

Wiggs: We have an obligation to protect Lakeland folks first.

Wiggs: I dont want to any harm to a fellow city.

Wiggs: states that those who claim the commissioners are wasting money fighting the project are not correct in their assessment.

Dockery: No one is helping Lakeland with dollars while Winter Haven is getting help from CSX.

Troller: There are people involved with this deal who don’t have best interests of the citizens in heart.

Fields: I don’t appreciate the insinuation to the public that there is only one way to go against the project.

Fields: We have a problem right now. We’re not going to become the Freight Superhighway of Florida, We are the freight superhighway of Florida.

Dockery: My first inclination is not to fight but to reach consesnus.

What are others willing to do?

Fields: A letter of support from the Central Florida partnership.

Fields: Addresses the Winter Haven Chamber Letter of Support to moving traffic.

Any definitive action? Dockery asks.

I’ve requested a copy of Senator Dockery’s presentation and will append it when I receive it.

Here it is:

4 thoughts on “Live Blogging Paula Dockery’s Address to the City Commissioners

  1. Please log on to helpsundance.blogspot.com to learn the truth about why Sundance Ranch Estates Residents want CSX to buy them out. Watch the video that convinced the BOCC to write a letter to CSX on their behalf.

  2. Please log on to helpsundance.blogspot.com to learn the truth about why Sundance Ranch Estates Residents want CSX to buy them out. Watch the video that convinced the BOCC to write a letter to CSX on their behalf.

  3. Paula Dockery is doing a great job. Gov. Crist thinks out of work Floridians can wait until the “beginning of July” for unemployment benefits. Some of these citizen’s benefits ran out as late as last February. That’s five months ago. Do you know any landlords, mortgage companies, or banks willing to wait 5 months for their payment? Is it any wonder there are so many entire families that are homeless in Florida? He waited until the last day to sign, cut 50% off the amount the Federal Stimulus was offering to pay. Now people who have lost their jobs have to wait not even for a specific date “for the 35-year-old computers to be fixed” but sometime in beginning of July. To some its a month to others its 5 months. This is really going to stimulate the current market in this state. The Governor of CA made a speedy decision, accepted the whole amount, and got it into to hands of unemployed Californians as quickly as possible to benefit the whole state’s economy.

  4. Paula Dockery is doing a great job. Gov. Crist thinks out of work Floridians can wait until the “beginning of July” for unemployment benefits. Some of these citizen’s benefits ran out as late as last February. That’s five months ago. Do you know any landlords, mortgage companies, or banks willing to wait 5 months for their payment? Is it any wonder there are so many entire families that are homeless in Florida? He waited until the last day to sign, cut 50% off the amount the Federal Stimulus was offering to pay. Now people who have lost their jobs have to wait not even for a specific date “for the 35-year-old computers to be fixed” but sometime in beginning of July. To some its a month to others its 5 months. This is really going to stimulate the current market in this state. The Governor of CA made a speedy decision, accepted the whole amount, and got it into to hands of unemployed Californians as quickly as possible to benefit the whole state’s economy.

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