Lakeland Chamber Backs The CSX Deal Without Knowing What The Lakeland Language Is

This is all CSX, Jacob Stuart, Buddy Dyer, and the rest of the Orlando cabal need.

Their pet freight deal is already teetering on the edge of collapse, and now the Lakeland Chamber has decided, for some reason, to pick this particular moment to urgently back CSX and literally beg its members to pepper legislators with expressions of support. Well, you know what that means: Break out the champagne, my fellow deal opponents. If you’ve lived here for a while, you know that every Lakeland political imbroglio has its Chamber stage, the point at which the Chamber rushes in on the losing side.

Anyway, from Friday’s Ledger story:

In an e-mail sent Wednesday, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s Katie Daughtrey asked members to pressure lawmakers for passage of the bill.

“I am asking/begging everyone to contact the members of the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee and voice your support of SB 1212,” she wrote.

“Your email/call does not have to be long … as their offices get flooded with people calling/emailing they will just be counting communications either FOR or AGAINST the bill.”

And

Promise of money in the budget to study and plan alternate freight routes around Lakeland and the promise of commuter rail through Lakeland made it advantageous to support the bill, [Chamber President Kathleen Munson] said.

Promise? In the words of the great Inigo Montoya: I do not think that means what you think it means.

If you remember, at least one key senator – not to mention DOT – hated the previous Lakeland language, which sort of suggested that the state might build an alternative rail route if pigs flew and taxpayers coughed up something between $600 million and $1.2 billion. It was too strong and political. So a yet weaker compromise was reached. Except that this compromise language was “conceptual” last week and remained so as of Friday, according to Gow Fields. “Conceptual” is a fancy word for “doesn’t exist yet.” Thus, when Katie sent her email begging for help for CSX, the chamber had no way of knowing what language concerning Lakeland would actually get into the bill. It still doesn’t. But I hear through the grapevine that the compromise language actually calls for renaming the A-line S-line the Lakeland Chamber Freight Superhighway. OK, so that last part is a joke, but one wonders if the Chamber would be flattered.

20 thoughts on “Lakeland Chamber Backs The CSX Deal Without Knowing What The Lakeland Language Is

  1. I would recommend Senate President Frank Jeff Atwater and Sen. Ronda Storms, a local senator I understand is not yet committed either way. Be nice. Don’t have contact info off the top of my head, but googling either one will get you an email, I’m sure.

  2. I would recommend Senate President Frank Jeff Atwater and Sen. Ronda Storms, a local senator I understand is not yet committed either way. Be nice. Don’t have contact info off the top of my head, but googling either one will get you an email, I’m sure.

  3. Shame on the Lakeland Chamber for urging its members to let railroad giant CSX off the hook for accidents in the central Florida commuter rail corridor.

    The Chamber wants Florida taxpayers to pay for accidents caused by CSX, “its successors, its officers, employees and any other person or persons whomsoever.”

    Here is the precise language contained in Senate Bill 1212 which dictates that Florida taxpayers would “Assume the obligation by contract to forever protect, defend, and indemnify and hold harmless the freight rail operator (CSX), or its successors, from whom the department (FDOT) has acquired a real property interest in the rail corridor, and that freight rail operator’s (CSX) officers, agents, and employees, from and against any liability, cost, and expense, including, but not limited to, commuter rail passengers, rail corridor invitees, and trespassers in the rail corridor, regardless of whether the loss, damage, destruction, injury, or death giving rise to any such liability, cost, or expense is caused in whole or in part and to whatever nature or degree by the fault, failure, negligence, misconduct, nonfeasance, or misfeasance of such freight rail operator, its successors, or its officers, agents, and employees, or any other person or persons whomsoever…”

    Here’s one example: A CSX freight crew parks a chlorine tank car in a siding and fails to tie the handbrake in the car causing the car to roll out into the path of an oncoming commuter train and explode. Who pays for CSX’s wanton negligence, including killing and injuring passengers, plus damage to adjacent homes?

    Under Senate Bill 1212, we will pay for it.

    How much? Based on a CSX accident in New Orleans involving a chemical car there, it could be billions. A New Orleans jury awarded damages of $3.37 billion, including $2.5 billion in punitive damages against CSX.

    Yes, this is what the Lakeland Chamber is urging its members to support. Chamber members should be telling their officers that they do not want to be a part of bailing out CSX freight giant for its reckless, wanton and negligent acts. And, they should be telling the same thing to their elected Tallahassee representatives.

  4. Shame on the Lakeland Chamber for urging its members to let railroad giant CSX off the hook for accidents in the central Florida commuter rail corridor.

    The Chamber wants Florida taxpayers to pay for accidents caused by CSX, “its successors, its officers, employees and any other person or persons whomsoever.”

    Here is the precise language contained in Senate Bill 1212 which dictates that Florida taxpayers would “Assume the obligation by contract to forever protect, defend, and indemnify and hold harmless the freight rail operator (CSX), or its successors, from whom the department (FDOT) has acquired a real property interest in the rail corridor, and that freight rail operator’s (CSX) officers, agents, and employees, from and against any liability, cost, and expense, including, but not limited to, commuter rail passengers, rail corridor invitees, and trespassers in the rail corridor, regardless of whether the loss, damage, destruction, injury, or death giving rise to any such liability, cost, or expense is caused in whole or in part and to whatever nature or degree by the fault, failure, negligence, misconduct, nonfeasance, or misfeasance of such freight rail operator, its successors, or its officers, agents, and employees, or any other person or persons whomsoever…”

    Here’s one example: A CSX freight crew parks a chlorine tank car in a siding and fails to tie the handbrake in the car causing the car to roll out into the path of an oncoming commuter train and explode. Who pays for CSX’s wanton negligence, including killing and injuring passengers, plus damage to adjacent homes?

    Under Senate Bill 1212, we will pay for it.

    How much? Based on a CSX accident in New Orleans involving a chemical car there, it could be billions. A New Orleans jury awarded damages of $3.37 billion, including $2.5 billion in punitive damages against CSX.

    Yes, this is what the Lakeland Chamber is urging its members to support. Chamber members should be telling their officers that they do not want to be a part of bailing out CSX freight giant for its reckless, wanton and negligent acts. And, they should be telling the same thing to their elected Tallahassee representatives.

  5. It’s shameful that the very people Sen Dockery has fought so hard to protect are now turning their backs on her. What the hell is going on here? Pigs are definitely flying today.

  6. It’s shameful that the very people Sen Dockery has fought so hard to protect are now turning their backs on her. What the hell is going on here? Pigs are definitely flying today.

  7. Charlie, you ask how much you would pay under that scenario. Nothing. CSX will pay FDOT $10 million a year to use the A Line. FDOT will use $2 million a year from that money to purchase a $200 million insurance policy. The insurance policy (not the taxpayers) will pay for any damages caused by CSX or FDOT on a no-fault basis. For any damages above $200 million, the state (you) is covered by its own sovereign immunity, which leaves CSX on the hook. The insurance policy prevents costly and time-consuming lawsuits between CSX and FDOT to determine fault, which allows for immediate payment to victims.

  8. Charlie, you ask how much you would pay under that scenario. Nothing. CSX will pay FDOT $10 million a year to use the A Line. FDOT will use $2 million a year from that money to purchase a $200 million insurance policy. The insurance policy (not the taxpayers) will pay for any damages caused by CSX or FDOT on a no-fault basis. For any damages above $200 million, the state (you) is covered by its own sovereign immunity, which leaves CSX on the hook. The insurance policy prevents costly and time-consuming lawsuits between CSX and FDOT to determine fault, which allows for immediate payment to victims.

  9. No problem. I ended up sending my email to every senator. Not sure if it was worth it, or if I was nice enough, but I did try to be. ;)

  10. No problem. I ended up sending my email to every senator. Not sure if it was worth it, or if I was nice enough, but I did try to be. ;)

  11. Tobias,Soverign immunity is not in SB1212. Taken out at request of Trial Lawyers. Guess who is writing insurance for Tri-Rail. AIG, the company we bailed out at cost of $Billions to taxpayers. Without that bailout AIG would be in liquidation and Tri-Rail would have no insurance to cover CSX negligence. My guess is that a weakened AIG will not renew Tri-Rail coverage this June. Last fall, when FDOT was asked if the Tril Rail policy was put out for bid, the response was that AIG was the only company that would write it. Soverign immunity is granted in Tri-Rail Corridor, but not in SB1212. Who will FDOT buy insurance from? Citizens? That would be just dandy.

  12. Tobias,Soverign immunity is not in SB1212. Taken out at request of Trial Lawyers. Guess who is writing insurance for Tri-Rail. AIG, the company we bailed out at cost of $Billions to taxpayers. Without that bailout AIG would be in liquidation and Tri-Rail would have no insurance to cover CSX negligence. My guess is that a weakened AIG will not renew Tri-Rail coverage this June. Last fall, when FDOT was asked if the Tril Rail policy was put out for bid, the response was that AIG was the only company that would write it. Soverign immunity is granted in Tri-Rail Corridor, but not in SB1212. Who will FDOT buy insurance from? Citizens? That would be just dandy.

  13. Charlie, sovereign immunity for the third party private operator was taken out! The state still retains its sovereign immunity. Taxpayers (you) are covered by the $200 million insurance policy, and above that the state’s sovereign immunity.

  14. Charlie, sovereign immunity for the third party private operator was taken out! The state still retains its sovereign immunity. Taxpayers (you) are covered by the $200 million insurance policy, and above that the state’s sovereign immunity.

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