What Railway Robbery Looks Like – Or yes, Bob O’Malley, This One’s For You

This is from the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette

$100 MILLION EXPANSION: CSX TO DOUBLE ITS FREIGHT YARD IN WORCESTER

CSX train in the Allston rail yard

WORCESTER — CSX Corp. plans to more than double the size of its freight yard on Franklin Street and make the city its new freight hub for New England.

The $100 million project is part of a private-public partnership between the state and CSX to reposition its freight operations in Massachusetts, so the rail line between Worcester and Boston can be opened up to more commuter trains, with a goal of eventually reaching 20 to 25 commuter trains per day, according to Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray.

Sound familiar?

Well, let’s check out the terms of Massachusetts’ version of the CSX/Sunrail deal and consider the difference between a how a state governed by liberals and a state governed by conservatives deals with corporations and the public interest.

With the Florida CSX deal, the state is paying CSX about $600-$700 million overall in cash and Florida freight system improvements for ownership of 61 miles of lines through the Orlando area. (It’s about $450 million if you don’t count the money for overpass construction in north central Florida, which I suppose one could say isn’t directly for CSX’s benefit, even though it is.) Remember, that money includes $23 million for “relocation” of the Taft rail yard to the Winter Haven rail yard.

Jamey L. Tesler, deputy secretary for the state Department of Transportation, said no state or city funding will be used to finance the [Worcester] expansion project. He said CSX will pay the entire bill for the project from money it will receive from the state for the purchase of the property rights of the Boston-to-Worcester rail line and the New Bedford-to-Fall River line.

That’s no money as in no money. As in no taxpayer sops to whatever spoiled, bullying inheritance baby’s buddies assemble land near the hub in Worcester.

Well, surely CSX stuck it to those silly leftists in the deal for the Worcester-to-Boston tracks. I bet they way overpaid compared to what Jeb and Marco and John Mica were able to negotiate. Well, maybe not so much. Massachusetts bought 23 miles of rail line between Framingham and Worcester and some additional Boston-area trackage I can’t find mileage for. Mass also paid for some overpass improvements, just like Florida did. However, the total Massachusetts package came to $100 million. Absolute worst case for Massachusetts, that’s $4.3 million per mile, and it certainly would be less than that if I knew the Boston mileage. And Massachusetts citizens sound like they get a truly useful extension of one of America’s best established rail/transit systems.

By contrast, our fair state paid about $10.6 million per mile to purchase track for a startup service projected to carry 3,000 people per day. That’s more than twice what those free spending Kennedy-lovers paid for a much better product.

So here’s my question to Bob O’Malley, the CSX flack who on occasion reads and comments on Lakeland Local: Do you guys give seminars? Because I would love to learn your negotiating technique. And, when you hear Marco Rubio – speaker of the Florida House and major CSX supporter when all of this went down – splatter on about conservatism and spending and who does and does not hug Obama’s stimulus package, do you cackle to yourself?

Hell, maybe Rubio put it all on his party credit card.

At least CSX was honest about the job picture in Worcester.

He said the project is expected to create 370 construction jobs, and 50 jobs once the freight terminal is completed, which is projected to be in September 2012.

Get used to those types of numbers here, Haveners.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mkrigsman

19 thoughts on “What Railway Robbery Looks Like – Or yes, Bob O’Malley, This One’s For You

  1. Billy, I’m sorry you weren’t able to make it to the transportation forum in Lakeland earlier this week. We could have discussed these issues in person.

    Your statements about our compensation for the sale of 61 miles of our A Line are incorrect. The correct amount is $432 million, of which we are reinvesting the entire amount in Florida’s freight infrastructure. This reinvestment will improve our ability to deliver freight to Florida businesses and consumers. (FYI – the new issue of Florida Trend has an important article about how Florida stands to prosper from changing global trade flows: http://floridatrend.com/article.asp?aID=52533)

    As for Massachusetts, the $100 million was only a portion of the transaction – so you are not telling the whole truth.

    I would be happy to meet with you again at Black & Brew to discuss freight issues and how we will play an important role in the economic recovery of our home state. And as I’ve mentioned to Julie, I would be willing to speak at a DLP meeting or to any other community group in Lakeland.

    Best regards,

    Bob

  2. Billy, I’m sorry you weren’t able to make it to the transportation forum in Lakeland earlier this week. We could have discussed these issues in person.

    Your statements about our compensation for the sale of 61 miles of our A Line are incorrect. The correct amount is $432 million, of which we are reinvesting the entire amount in Florida’s freight infrastructure. This reinvestment will improve our ability to deliver freight to Florida businesses and consumers. (FYI – the new issue of Florida Trend has an important article about how Florida stands to prosper from changing global trade flows: http://floridatrend.com/article.asp?aID=52533)

    As for Massachusetts, the $100 million was only a portion of the transaction – so you are not telling the whole truth.

    I would be happy to meet with you again at Black & Brew to discuss freight issues and how we will play an important role in the economic recovery of our home state. And as I’ve mentioned to Julie, I would be willing to speak at a DLP meeting or to any other community group in Lakeland.

    Best regards,

    Bob

  3. Pingback: What Railway Robbery Looks Like – Or yes, Bob O'Malley, This One's … Help

  4. Thanks Bob. You write:

    “Your statements about our compensation for the sale of 61 miles of our A Line are incorrect. The correct amount is $432 million, of which we are reinvesting the entire amount in Florida’s freight infrastructure.”

    I actually wrote:

    “With the Florida CSX deal, the state is paying CSX about $600-$700 million overall in cash and Florida freight system improvements for ownership of 61 miles of lines through the Orlando area. (It’s about $450 million if you don’t count the money for overpass construction in north central Florida, which I suppose one could say isn’t directly for CSX’s benefit, even though it is.)”

    Are you really going to fight me over $18 million when I said I was speaking roundly – i.e.: “about”? I fully stipulate that your $432 is more precise than my “about $450”. I knew you wouldn’t agree on the overpass improvements, which is why I wrote this in that way. BUT, from my reading, Massachusetts does consider its overpass improvements part of its deal. So the per mile cost comparison is apples to apples from what’s in the public domain.

    Except that it now appears that the Boston area rail amounts to about 30 miles. That’s a total of 53 miles, as far I can tell. That’s “about” $2 million per mile, again, roundly speaking.

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090924/NEWS/909240349

    http://transportation.blog.state.ma.us/blog/2009/09/lt-governor-historic-csx-rail-agreement.html

    Now, if you have additional Massachusetts compensation figures to provide, please do. Because Massachusetts and CSX repeatedly refer to it as a $100 million deal – for 53 miles of track. Perhaps the reporting is bad – by the state as well as its media. Please correct them for us.

  5. Thanks Bob. You write:

    “Your statements about our compensation for the sale of 61 miles of our A Line are incorrect. The correct amount is $432 million, of which we are reinvesting the entire amount in Florida’s freight infrastructure.”

    I actually wrote:

    “With the Florida CSX deal, the state is paying CSX about $600-$700 million overall in cash and Florida freight system improvements for ownership of 61 miles of lines through the Orlando area. (It’s about $450 million if you don’t count the money for overpass construction in north central Florida, which I suppose one could say isn’t directly for CSX’s benefit, even though it is.)”

    Are you really going to fight me over $18 million when I said I was speaking roundly – i.e.: “about”? I fully stipulate that your $432 is more precise than my “about $450”. I knew you wouldn’t agree on the overpass improvements, which is why I wrote this in that way. BUT, from my reading, Massachusetts does consider its overpass improvements part of its deal. So the per mile cost comparison is apples to apples from what’s in the public domain.

    Except that it now appears that the Boston area rail amounts to about 30 miles. That’s a total of 53 miles, as far I can tell. That’s “about” $2 million per mile, again, roundly speaking.

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090924/NEWS/909240349

    http://transportation.blog.state.ma.us/blog/2009/09/lt-governor-historic-csx-rail-agreement.html

    Now, if you have additional Massachusetts compensation figures to provide, please do. Because Massachusetts and CSX repeatedly refer to it as a $100 million deal – for 53 miles of track. Perhaps the reporting is bad – by the state as well as its media. Please correct them for us.

  6. I don’t cackle but I get extremely agitated every time I think about the back room deals done in the dark…And you think we live in the Sunshine State. The jobs report that was pitched for the WH ILC quickly went from the thousands to the hundreds and once Taft employees are offered relocation packages, the number will be in the tens. This whole thing smells of fish and I am not talking about anything freshly caught, I am talking the aroma of days old festering in the sun fish that makes you embarrassed when you haul your garbage to the curb. Why our state decision makers and FDOT have put the ink to paper on this deal still has me baffled. Now we have the new FDOT scratch your head and wonder decision to support a high speed rail stop in the middle of a cow pasture. No, wait a minute, bull pasture.

  7. I don’t cackle but I get extremely agitated every time I think about the back room deals done in the dark…And you think we live in the Sunshine State. The jobs report that was pitched for the WH ILC quickly went from the thousands to the hundreds and once Taft employees are offered relocation packages, the number will be in the tens. This whole thing smells of fish and I am not talking about anything freshly caught, I am talking the aroma of days old festering in the sun fish that makes you embarrassed when you haul your garbage to the curb. Why our state decision makers and FDOT have put the ink to paper on this deal still has me baffled. Now we have the new FDOT scratch your head and wonder decision to support a high speed rail stop in the middle of a cow pasture. No, wait a minute, bull pasture.

  8. Judofish: “Why our state decision makers and FDOT have put the ink to paper on this deal still has me baffled.” Why? Obamabucks, of course. It went from moving steadily along to being derailed, to *bing* being a done deal. I haven’t followed this nearly as closely as Billy has, but that’s just the way it looked to me.

    Nicely done, Billy.

  9. Judofish: “Why our state decision makers and FDOT have put the ink to paper on this deal still has me baffled.” Why? Obamabucks, of course. It went from moving steadily along to being derailed, to *bing* being a done deal. I haven’t followed this nearly as closely as Billy has, but that’s just the way it looked to me.

    Nicely done, Billy.

  10. RE: “Please correct them for us.”

    Billy,

    Like I said, I’d be happy to meet with you in person to discuss this and any other transportation issue. You can also call me anytime. I’ll send you my cell # through FB. Thanks.

    Bob

  11. RE: “Please correct them for us.”

    Billy,

    Like I said, I’d be happy to meet with you in person to discuss this and any other transportation issue. You can also call me anytime. I’ll send you my cell # through FB. Thanks.

    Bob

  12. CSX, FloridahPolitics and DeadFish; three cultures that smell to high heaven. And now JDAlexander gets to play with Floridians’ State Budget money one more time starting next week. I wonder how many more hundreds of millions he has set aside for his buds now that his 3rd grade math skills have made our education system 50th out of 50 states nationwide. O’Malley, man up and put your words on Billy’s Blog for everyone to read, or are you still working from the JebBush MikeWard BackRoomDeal play book? Boy, grow some nads son, or are you just too chicken to tell the truth for fear of repercussions from the Crist-McCollum-Sink Cabal? Cackle, cackle, cackle.

  13. CSX, FloridahPolitics and DeadFish; three cultures that smell to high heaven. And now JDAlexander gets to play with Floridians’ State Budget money one more time starting next week. I wonder how many more hundreds of millions he has set aside for his buds now that his 3rd grade math skills have made our education system 50th out of 50 states nationwide. O’Malley, man up and put your words on Billy’s Blog for everyone to read, or are you still working from the JebBush MikeWard BackRoomDeal play book? Boy, grow some nads son, or are you just too chicken to tell the truth for fear of repercussions from the Crist-McCollum-Sink Cabal? Cackle, cackle, cackle.

  14. TimeForRealChange,

    I offered to meet Billy in a public place (Black & Brew) or attend a DLP meeting. Both venues would provide honest, face-to-face communication. I don’t understand how you can characterize that as “back-room.” Of course, such a meeting would not allow you the ability to insult me while hiding behind a fake name.

  15. TimeForRealChange,

    I offered to meet Billy in a public place (Black & Brew) or attend a DLP meeting. Both venues would provide honest, face-to-face communication. I don’t understand how you can characterize that as “back-room.” Of course, such a meeting would not allow you the ability to insult me while hiding behind a fake name.

  16. Bob,

    I think TimeForRealChange wants to see what everyone here wants to see: a discussion between you and Billy Townsend/LakelandLocal here on this blog. That way we could all see the questions and answers, not have them simply parsed through another person after the meeting.

    How about a real Q&A? Heck, you could do a video with Billy over Skype, record it, and have it posted here. Something — ANYthing — that seems like an honest, non-evasive conversation about the subject that gives people some real insight and answers.

    High Speed Rail may be very important to this region’s future; so how about letting some Polk residents who can’t get to the dry meetings see or read some thoughtful and honest Q&A about the issues that may have dramatic impact on them and their families for years to come?

    Also, anonymity is very important to free speech. As long as TimeForRealChange and anyone else acts honorably while “hiding behind a fake name”, then there really should be no issue with it.

  17. Bob,

    I think TimeForRealChange wants to see what everyone here wants to see: a discussion between you and Billy Townsend/LakelandLocal here on this blog. That way we could all see the questions and answers, not have them simply parsed through another person after the meeting.

    How about a real Q&A? Heck, you could do a video with Billy over Skype, record it, and have it posted here. Something — ANYthing — that seems like an honest, non-evasive conversation about the subject that gives people some real insight and answers.

    High Speed Rail may be very important to this region’s future; so how about letting some Polk residents who can’t get to the dry meetings see or read some thoughtful and honest Q&A about the issues that may have dramatic impact on them and their families for years to come?

    Also, anonymity is very important to free speech. As long as TimeForRealChange and anyone else acts honorably while “hiding behind a fake name”, then there really should be no issue with it.

Comments are closed.